Goodbye Swaggy P? Nick Young declines option with Lakers and becomes free agent

June 25, 2014

According to a release by the Los Angeles Lakers, the team was informed today by agent Mark Bartelstein that his client, Nick Young, will not be exercising his option to extend his contract, making him a free agent.

The move is not a surprise considering that Young signed on the cheap last season, played well as one of the team's few scoring threats, and likely will command significantly more money on the open market this offseason.

“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.”

In arguably the worst season in Lakers history, Young was one of the few bright spots, as his laid-back, friendly attitude won over fans, teammates, and media alike.  In addition, his penchant for streaky scoring also made an otherwise dull Lakers team somewhat watchable during those moments when his jumper was falling.

However, with the 2014 NBA Draft approaching tomorrow, Lakers fans cannot help but think that Young also might have negatively affected the team by potentially costing them a more desirable rookie.

In the final two games of the season, the Lakers and coach Mike D'Antoni, oblivious to the tanking tactics of the NBA's other lottery-bound teams, disastrously won their final two games and guaranteed that Boston would draft one spot ahead of them.  In one of those two games against the Utah Jazz, Swaggy P did not help matters by pouring in 41 points in a 119-104 road win.

Drafting that one spot behind the Celtics could mean the difference between getting a franchise-changing rookie who might slip out of the top 5, and a more ordinary rookie who develops into an average rotation player. 

Nevertheless, there is a good chance that Young returns to LA, provided his pay is increased.  The Lakers are his hometown team and he enjoyed wearing the purple and gold.  Moreover, given Kobe Bryant's suspect health, there is a need for additional perimeter scoring.

In 64 games (nine starts) during the 2013-14 season, his first with the Lakers, Young averaged a career-high 17.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. The Los Angeles native maintained the highest scoring average (18.8 points per game off the bench) for a reserve in the NBA and scored 40+ points as a member of the second unit two times.

By Staff of and news services

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