Re-Signing Thaddeus Young a Fantastic Move by Philadelphia 76ers

Roy BurtonContributor IDecember 20, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27:  Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers lays up a shot past Udonis Haslem #40 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

On the surface, it doesn't make sense.

In a league where the salary cap is currently at $58 million, it doesn't seem logical for an NBA team to commit $43 million over five seasons to a player who doesn't even start.

But when it comes to the Philadelphia 76ers and small forward Thaddeus Young, it makes all the sense in the world.

Last season, Young had his most successful campaign since he was drafted out of Georgia Tech back in the summer of 2007. As one of the 76ers' primary bench players, Young—who finished third in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year voting last year—averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best 54.1 percent from the floor.

Even more impressive is the fact that Young converted on 73.4 percent of his field goal attempts at the rim. In his fourth season in the NBA, the 6'8", 220-pound Young was clearly more aggressive in attacking the basket, and thrived under the tutelage of 76ers head coach Doug Collins.

While it's clear that retaining Young makes the 76ers better in the short-term, the true value in the signing comes several years down the road.

Starting swingman Andre Iguodala has three more seasons left on his contract at a total of $44.15 million. In the event that the 76ers don't retain him at the end of his deal (or trade him before then), they already have a talented, affordable option at small forward ready to take his place.

In Young, Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, the 76ers have a talented core than they can legitimately build around for the next decade. To put things in perspective, Young—the elder statesman of the group—will only be 28 years old by the time his new five-year deal expires.

Young spent the better part of this extended offseason refining one of his lone weaknesses: his mid-range game. Once he adds a consistent jumper to his arsenal, there's no reason why Young couldn't be a perennial All-Star caliber small forward, given the minutes and the opportunity.

It may not look like it now, but in a few years, $43 million for Thaddeus Young could very well be a bargain.