Nick Young: “I believe I deserve more”

Lakers' Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Dail

Lakers’ Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Dail

Not that it’s a state secret, but Lakers forward Nick Young confirmed what he has said privately and suggested publicly for weeks now.

Young said he “pretty much” will opt out of his $1.2 million player option in an appearance Tuesday on 710 ESPN Radio in hopes of securing a longer and more lucrative deal here.

“I believe I deserve more,” said Young, who averaged a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting primarily as a backup. “Coming back home means the world to me. It would be a blessing to be able to stay here. But I believe I came here and prove I deserve a little more. They’ve been disrespecting Swaggy P.”

Young, never shy to speak in the third person, didn’t mean the Lakers were disrespecting him. He meant that his market value dropped in his six-year NBA career after having a reputation as a relentless gunner who never plays a lick of defense.

“I believe I can do the other things a little bit well,” Young said. “Everything gets overshadowed by how I play on the offensive end. Once you come int this league, you get labeled a little bit. I get labeled a s a shoot first type of player. Kobe [Bryant] said go and run with it. They put you on the floor and know what you’re going to do.

As detailed in an earlier feature story, Bryant has also preached to Young about becoming a more complete player and taking film study more seriously. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has tried maintaining a balancing act in coaching Young. D’Antoni gives Young the freedom to create his own shot, but often pleads to him to pass the ball more and show stronger effort on defense.

The Lakers like Young’s scoring and playful personality, but have fixed feelings about bringing him back beyond the possible price tag. Even if Young admired Bryant growing up at Cleveland High and USC, how will the two co-exist on the floor?

“I think I fit in very well. I can stick to my routine coming off the bench and be the scoring threat off the bench,” Young said. “They need a sub sometimes. Kobe needs to come off the game sometimes.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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  • Tino

    Totally agree! If Kobe stays as the SG, assume he plays an average of 32 min, that allows Swaggy P to pick up those 16 as the SG. If the Lakers pick up a SF worthy of starting and this “guy” (hopefully a defensive type) plays 32 min there is another 16 for Nick. 32 minutes for Nick off the bench. Can you say 6th man Award…

  • Drillon Recto

    It goes without saying but reading between the lines of what Young said, the Lakers don’t need to worry about him and Kobe co-existing on the floor. He, by his own admission, should be Kobe’s reliever. Now, how much time Young expect to spend on the floor as a sub for Kobe is something to be seen.

  • Alex

    Nick Young has too much ego to coexist with Kobe, and he’ll never be as good as he thinks he is. Let him go, he’ll take shots away from whoever LA drafts in the 1st round as their future.