Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young #0 celebrates after making the game winning 3-pointer. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-109 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA 11/22/2016. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)
EL SEGUNDO –Apparently, the Lakers addressed one of many looming offseason questions. This one involved whether the Lakers would retain 31-year-old guard/forward Nick Young.
“They just signed me to $150 million,” Young boasted after his exit interview with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. “Thank you.”
Young then boasted the Lakers granted him a “life-time deal” that entailed handing him cash under the table. In reality, Young insists he has not decided whether he would opt out of a player option that would pay him $5.6 million to stay with the Lakers for the 2017-18 season.
“He said I had a good year,” Young said of Johnson. “They were begging me to pretty much stay. I was like, ‘Magic, we’ll see.’ That’s basically what happened.”
Whether that happened might be up for debate. The Lakers have praised Young after he averaged 13.2 points on 43 percent shooting in 60 games as a starter under coach Luke Walton, a stark improvement from the 7.3 points he averaged last season on a career-low 33.9 percent shooting under former coach Byron Scott. Yet, the Lakers’ offseason plans largely hinges on if they retain their top-three protected pick in the NBA draft lottery and if they can land a marquee free agent in July. Young suggested the possibility of the Lakers drafting UCLA guard Lonzo Ball could affect his future, both because of Ball’s talent and attention his vocal father has sparked.
“They showed interest, but we have to see who else are free agents out there,” Young said. “If they get the top three pick, they might have the Ball family coming here talking crazy. It’s kind of a hard when you have a Ball family and Swaggy P talking crazy. It’s kind of too much.”
It might also be too much for the Lakers to retain Young.
“I think I’ll be more of a vet here,” Young said.” But at my age, I don’t now if I kind of want to sit around and wait for the team to progress and grow. I kind of want to be on a playoff team and see what happens.
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