Houston Rockets forward Cam Whitmore, center, drives to the basket...

Houston Rockets forward Cam Whitmore, center, drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors forward Thaddeus Young, right, reaches in to block during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, in Houston. Credit: AP/Michael Wyke

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns signed forward Thaddeus Young on Tuesday, giving the team another veteran presence as they scramble for playoff position in the crowded Western Conference race.

The 35-year-old Young has played 1,162 career games, which ranks third among active players behind only LeBron James and Chris Paul. The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder played 23 games for the Toronto Raptors earlier this season, including six starts, averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

The Suns are currently in the No. 6 position in the Western Conference playoff race. The top six teams in each conference automatically advance to the first best-of-seven round, skipping the play-in tournament, which involves the 7-10 seeds.

“Thad is a highly respected veteran player who makes us a better team in our pursuit of winning an NBA Championship,” Suns general manager James Jones said in a statement. “Thad is extremely intelligent and plays with a competitive intensity. His size and defensive abilities add versatility to our roster.”

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