The Los Angeles Lakers are on the cusp of seeing the Nick Young era come to an end. The boisterous 32-year-old shooting guard has spent the past four years playing for his hometown Lakers, but it appears that he will test the market and opt for free agency this summer.
Young has a player option in his contract for one more season that would pay him $5.6 million but after a breakout 2016-2017 campaign under head coach Luke Walton that saw him win a starting role and hold it for much of the season. It has been anticipated that Young would indeed opt out in search of a raise and a longer deal, but the decision was finally confirmed by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:
Source: Lakers guard Nick Young will decline his option and become a free agent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 21, 2017
Young came to the Lakers in the summer of 2013 on a one-year deal at below market value with the hope that he could breath new life into his career. Under then-coach Mike D’Antoni, Young did just that, scoring 17.9 points per game and thrilling Lakers fans with his shot making ability.
He signed his current contract, a four-year deal worth about $22 million, in the summer of 2014, but a coaching change to Byron Scott and a poor shooting spell limited his role on the team.
After two years of struggling, Young was rumored to be on the chopping block last summer as the Lakers were rumored to waive him and stretch the remaining money on his deal. New head coach Luke Walton, however, gave Young an opportunity to prove his worth, and he didn’t disappoint.
Not only did Young’s shooting touch return in Walton’s more player-friendly offense, but his defense also improved, making him a two-way player for the first time in his career. It was quite a resurrection for Young, who can now cash in on last season’s success, though that may mean leaving Los Angeles.
During his exit interview in April, Young hinted that he may want to play for a playoff team next season, and that’s not quite the place where the Lakers are at in their rebuild just yet. If this is goodbye to the man known as Swaggy P, Lakers Nation thanks him for four memorable years.