NBA free agency: Lakers reach out to Nick Young

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 Daily News )

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 Daily News )

The Lakers reiterated something to Nick Young’s representatives on Monday night that have been featured on countless billboards throughout Los Angeles.

The Lakers would like Young to stay. The Lakers were among “a lot of interested teams” to have contacted Young’s representatives, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

After averaging a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting, Young opted out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of receiving a longer and more expensive contract with the Lakers. Young told this newspaper two weeks ago that he would like a multi-year deal, though he is willing to take a hometown discount if he has a similar role with the Lakers this season.

The Lakers like Young’s scoring and entertaining personality. But they are reluctant to offer multi-year deals to all role players so they can maximize purchasing power for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as well as future free agents in 2015 (Kevin Love) and 2016 (Kevin Durant).

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Nick Young gets beat one-on-one at his youth basketball camp

Once it comes time to negotiate when he becomes a free agent late Monday night, Nick Young better hope Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak doesn’t come across the video he just posted on his Instragram account.

What incentive does Kupchak have to give Young a multi-year deal when the Lakers forward cannot even defend a young player one-on-one at his basketball camp? Well perhaps by Young citing his team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting, becoming a locker room favorite and his willingness to take a hometown discount. Young could also include the video below, making up for his previous defensive lapse with a vicious block on another youngster.


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TWC SportsNet analyzes Nick Young’s future with the Lakers

 Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Rashard Lewis #9 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Rashard Lewis #9 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Young became a Lakers’ fan favorite with his dazzling playmaking and entertaining on and off-court antics. One Lakers fan even launched a billboard campaign asking him to stay. Young would like to stay, too, after growing up here and bleeding purple and gold.

But with Young opting out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of getting a longer and more lucrative deal with the Lakers, has this marked the end of the “Swaggy P” era in one season with the Lakers? Or is the beginning of a long-lasting partnership with his favorite team?

That became a topic that Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet host Chris McGee, analyst Dave Miller and I debated here on Wednesday night.


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Nick Young, Kendall Marshall part of NBA’s Social Media Award winners

SoCal native Nick Young is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers but would very much like to return to the team with better deal. Rick Bowmer — The Associated Press

SoCal native Nick Young is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers but would very much like to return to the team with better deal. Rick Bowmer — The Associated Press

In a season in which the Lakers ended with their first record in L.A. franchise history, well they can at least hang their hats onto this.

Nick Young and Kendall Marshall ranked among the NBA players that won social media awards, a slight consolation to the reality that no Lakers picked up any individual awards pertaining to their on-court play.

Young, who will opt out of his $1.2 million player option before Wednesday’s deadline, won the so-called “LOL award” for his tweet surrounding who should coach the Lakers following Mike D’Antoni’s resignation.

Too bad NBA rules do not allow that. But that didn’t stop 8,068 fans from retweeting Young’s proclamation and 6,207 users from favoriting the tweet. Marshall also showed he is well versed in social media, posting a photo on his Instagram account of his 11-year-old self in 2003 with future teammate Pau Gasol.

The other award winners can be found here.

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Nick Young still laughing over Steve Nash’s outfit at 90′s-themed party

To ease his mind surrounding the uncertainty he will face on the free agent market, Lakers forward Nick Young has adopted a few habits this offseason that fulfills the “Swaggy P” persona.

OK, so he maintains he has worked out consistently in the gym to keep both his game and conditioning sharp. But Young has also relaxed, going on a recent vacation to Cabo, Mexico and planning a trip this weekend to London. As he posted on his Instagram account last month, Young also attended a 90′s themed party for his 29th birthday.

Here, you can see Young wearing cutoff shorts, Jordan Farmar wearing clothing promoting MTV, Robert Sacre dressing normally and Steve Nash wearing a ridiculous suit featuring cutup pants, a half-knotted tie and a jacket without a dress shirt.

“I was shocked what Steve Nash wore,” Young said with a chuckle. “I was impressed. That’s why I like hanging out with Nash. He’s real cool.”

So how did this idea come up?

“It was Jordan’s house party; I just crashed it,” Young said. “I turned his party into my party.”


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Nick Young wants multi-year deal with Lakers; willing to take hometown discount

LakersÕ 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 Daily News )

LakersÕ 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 Daily News )

With every joke and laugh, Nick Young’s positive energy oozed through the phone as frequently as one of his scoring binges that made him a rare bright spot during a dreary Lakers’ season.

The man who calls himself “Swaggy P” just came off a recent vacation in Cabo, Mexico. The man who entertained Lakers fans with his infectious personality plans to travel Thursday for a weekend trip in London where he insists he is modeling a fashion show. But underneath those fun and seemingly care-free times entails some uncertainty Young will experience in hopes to maximize his contract.

Though he considers the Lakers “his first choice,” Young will opt out of his $1.2 million player option before the June 25 deadline. That would allow Young both to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent beginning July 1 and possibly leverage a larger deal with the Lakers. Young sounded specific with what he hoped the Lakers could offer after averaging a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting primarily as a backup forward.

“Just more years. I believe I deserve more,” Young said Wednesday in an interview with this newspaper. “That’s up to my agent to do that for me. The Lakers are home, but things could happen. With free agency this year, it’s going to be crazy to see.”

The Lakers have only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre signed for the 2014-15 season, leaving them with up to 12 players they will need to fill on the roster. The Lakers will reserve one of those spots presumably for their seventh pick of the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. But what about Young?

“I think I could stick to my same role and help out Kobe,” Young said. “He has to come out of the game sometime. If they get another good player, they have to come out of the game sometime. I’ll be their Jamal Crawford. The Clippers have a Sixth Man of the Year. The Lakers need to have one too.”

The Lakers generally like Young for his prolific scoring, positive attitude and entertainment value. Case in point, Lakers Nation, a fan site, promoted a so-called “Stay Swag” campaign that Young called “dope.” But the Lakers feel reluctant to offer any role player, such as Young, more than a one-year deal. The Lakers want to maximize cap flexibility to pursue high profile players, such as LeBron James in 2014, Kevin Love in 2015 or Kevin Durant in 2016.

Young did not outline what dollar figure he wanted, though he joked he told Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that he needs “two years at $50 million to come back.” The Lakers signed Bryant for the next two years worth $48.5 million. Young sounded serious about considering a hometown discount.

“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”
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Mike D’Antoni has funny retort to conversation had by Nick Young and Pau Gasol

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, prior to Sunday’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic, was told of a recent conversation that took place between Nick Young and Pau Gasol, who apparently want to do everything they can to avoid being the worst Lakers team since it moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.

The 1974-75 Lakers went 30-52. These Lakers are 22-46 and would have to go 9-5 over their last 14 games in order to accomplish what Gasol and Young want. That would make them 31-51.

“They probably should have had that conversation a little earlier, first off,” D’Antoni said, drawing a large round of laughter from assembled reporters. “But you know, hey, great, whatever we try to do is good.”

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