The Pacers will not exercise the $1.6 million fourth-year team option on 2015 second-round draft pick Joe Young, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
With 11 players under contract and not yet accounting for Aaron Holiday’s ability to shoot matched with toughness and speed or second-round pick Alize Johnson, the 26-year-old guard was a logical candidate to fall victim to roster management ahead of the start of free agency.
“He goes in this season behind Cory and Darren,” Pritchard said of Holiday on draft night while conspicuously failing to mention Young’s name in the projected pecking order. “but I see him competing for minutes. And one thing you know about that third-point guard position, during the season you get a chance to play.”
When Young got his shot in that role last season, he connected on a career-best 38 percent from three, including draining a career-high five triples when he was pressed into service against the Washington Wizards following the announcement that Darren Collison would need to undergo arthroscopic surgery.
However, over the next 10 games before Collison returned to action, he shot 38 percent from the field and the Pacers scored less than a point per possession while getting outscored by 7.2 points per 100 possessions in the 154 minutes that he was on the floor.
In contrast to the way in which the fiery guard provided a scoring punch against the Wizards by standing at the proper angle and hitting the open shot whenever one of his teammates forced the defense to commit, more than 50 percent of Young’s next 45 field goal attempts during that stretch were pull-up jumpers that he only knocked down at a cringe-inducing 30-percent clip while going 4-of-11 in the paint.
In the event that the Pacers find themselves in an extended bind next season and unexpectedly run through the aforementioned depth chart, Edmond Sumner’s limited shooting but superior measurements and more natural slashing ability to that of Young will also be available to float back and forth between Fort Wayne and Indy without counting against the cap.
After declining Young’s option, the Pacers could have more than $20 million in cap space pending decisions on Al Jefferson ($10 million only $4 million guaranteed), Alex Poythress ($1.54 million, fully guaranteed if not waived before July 15), and Ike Anigbogu ($1.37 million, only $650,000 guaranteed if waived before July 15) and acting on the assumption that the contracts of Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison will be guaranteed.