In what was an expected decision, guard Nick Young officially opted out of his final year with the Lakers and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
A fan favorite, “Swaggy P” was one of the positives in a season full of negatives for the Lakers. Young led the team with a career-high 17.9 points in 28.3 minutes a game for the purple and gold, providing a spark to an offense that was without Kobe Bryant for all but six games.
“We anticipated and expected that Nick would choose to become a free agent,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We very much appreciate his contributions to last season’s team, and we will hopefully be able to bring him back. However, he, his agent and the market will dictate his future direction.”
While Kupchak and the Lakers would love to bring Young back, his price tag will surely play a part in his future with the team. Earlier this month, Young noted that he would take a hometown discount to stay in Los Angeles:
“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”
In his seven year career, the most Young has made per year is $5.6 million in 2012-2013 with the Philadelphia 76ers. It remains unknown what the market will be for former USC Trojan, but he will surely receive interest from many teams looking for a spark off the bench.
Young has a career average of 12.2 points but has shown the ability to go off for big nights. This past season, Young led the bench in scoring with 18.8 points and had two 40-point games.