One veteran player on the Los Angeles Lakers that appears to be moving on this summer is Nick Young. The veteran guard has a player option on his deal and has hinted to opting out to explore other options.
After his exit interview with the Lakers brass earlier this week, Young spoke to the media and in classic fashion got a few laughs with some of the things he said about his future with the team. Perhaps his funniest comment was in reference to UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and his controversial father, LaVar.
Ball, who is a top draft prospect and prefers to play for the Lakers, could remain in Los Angeles if the team keeps their top-three protected pick. Young jokingly claims he and the Ball family would probably be a bit too much for the franchise, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“If we get the top-three pick, we might have the Ball family come in here talking crazy,” Young said, smiling. “It’s kind of hard when you got a Ball family and a Swaggy P talking crazy. Kind of too much.”
Obviously, with a 46.9 percent chance of keeping their pick, it’s a big “if” the Lakers can get Ball in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft. Ball will be in contention for the No. 1 pick on June 22 with Markelle Fultz (Washington), Josh Jackson (Kansas), and potentially others like Jayson Tatum (Duke).
As for Young, the soon-to-be 32-year-old seems ready to move on with his sights set on joining a playoff team rather than being a veteran on a rebuilding squad, via Ganguli:
“I’ll be more of a vet here,” Young said. “But at my age, I don’t know if I kind of want to sit around and wait for another team to progress and grow. [I] kind of want to be on a playoff team and see what happens.”
With Young coming off a solid season for the Lakers, the veteran guard wanting to play for a playoff team isn’t all that surprising. Whether a playoff team shows interest is another story as Young will likely want some long-term security with a multi-year deal.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Young returns if the Lakers strike out in free agency and he’s still available, but all signs point to him having played his last game in purple and gold.