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.”
It’s time for the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni to part company
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