The Lakers only have three players locked up with guaranteed contracts for next year in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre, but Nick Young could become the fourth if he chooses to pick up his player option that’s worth a little over $1.2 million for the upcoming season.
That’s not likely to happen, but that doesn’t mean that Young is necessarily looking to leave Los Angeles.
Young loves playing for the Lakers, so much so that he may be willing to give the team a hometown discount of sorts in order to stay wearing the purple and gold.
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.” …
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.”
Young doesn’t seem like he’s asking for dollars here as much as he’s asking for a multi-year deal that would guarantee him some sense of security.
He’s happy playing in L.A., and the Lakers will need to fill out the roster with players like him that can be productive on smaller-salary deals.
But the Lakers won’t do anything to compromise their cap space in advance of the summer of 2015, when a whole host of desirable free agents will hit the open market. Young may indeed find his place in Los Angeles, but he’ll likely need to continue to compromise financially in order to do so.