Young, who possess a player option that he will likely decline, has stated for weeks now that he will become a free agent at the end of the season and will test the free agent market once again. However, he has also expressed his desire to continue playing for his hometown teams and would like to end his career in Los Angeles.
“Of course, I want to be here and be part of a team that’s going to the playoffs and fighting for championships,” Young said. “Being part of that Laker parade and having my own little speech like Shaq did: ‘Can you dig it?’”
Young said he was “confident” that the front office and the player could come to some agreement.
The LA-native reminded reporters, “This is home. I would love to finish off here, as a Laker.”
The Lakers and GM Mitch Kupchak have a plethora of important decisions to make this offseason and, while Nick Young has been impressive this season, probably isn’t at the top of the GM’s to-do list. The Lakers would love for Young pick up his player option at the end of the season and return to the club for a minuscule $1.22M. That’s not going to happen. Young, who is 28, has clearly outplayed his contract and deserves to go out on the market and find a longer term deal that will pay him more annually. Is he going to find that offer coming from the Lakers? I would find that highly doubtful. While it is possible that the Lakers would use their mid-level exception on Young, if they can use it at all, I don’t think that is likely either.
If Nick Young is going to be a Laker next season it is likely that he is going to have to turn down more money elsewhere to find his way back to Staples Center. There is no doubt that Laker fans have enjoyed watching Swaggy P go off this season and play some of the best basketball of his career. There is also no doubt that Laker fans would love for Young to have his “Can You Dig It?” moment on a podium outside of Staples Center or at the Coliseum. But for now I would venture to guess that it is a 50/50 proposition as to whether or not Young will be a member of the Lakers next season.