Report: Lakers willing to buy out Nick Young if they can’t trade him

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Nick Young sounds ready to bury the hatchet with D'Angelo Russell and continue with the Lakers.

Young might not get the chance.

If the Lakers can’t trade him as they hope, they’re ready to resort to other options.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

I would frankly be surprised if Nick Young is on the Lakers’ roster at the start of the season. They’ve been trying to trade him for a while. They’re still trying to trade him. They are willing to even buy him out if necessary to move on.

Young’s four-year, $21.5 million contract looked awful when he signed it. It has only aged worse than expected.

Not only did he clash with Russell – who bears responsibility for the humiliating video, but is one of the Lakers’ most valuable players – Young has become one of the NBA’s worst players. He’s an extremely inefficient gunner who lacks any complementary skills.

The key question is how much the Lakers would pay him to go away. Young is due $11,112,585 over the final two years of his contract, and if I were him, I wouldn’t sacrifice a dime. He seems to prefer being in Los Angeles, and there’s no guarantee of even a minimum deal elsewhere.

If the Lakers would have to pay Young his full remaining salary, they’d have a few options. If they waive him by Aug. 31, they can stretch his 2016-17 salary. Either way, they’d have the option of stretching his 2017-18 salary.

Here are the scenarios:

Waive and stretch by Aug. 31:

  • 2016-17: $2,222,517
  • 2017-18: $2,222,517
  • 2018-19: $2,222,517
  • 2019-20: $2,222,517
  • 2020-21: $2,222,517

Waive and stretch after Aug. 31:

  • 2016-17: $5,443,918
  • 2017-18: $1,889,556
  • 2018-19: $1,889,556
  • 2019-20: $1,889,556

Waive without stretching:

  • 2016-17: $5,443,918
  • 2017-18: $5,668,667

I’d definitely take one of the latter two routes. What are the Lakers going to do with more cap flexibility this season? Better to take their lumps now.

Then, it comes down to their long-term planning. I’d probably rather spread the remaining amount into a small cap hit over the following three years rather than eating it all in 2017-18. But if the Lakers don’t believe they can attract free agents next summer – as deals for Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng and Jordan Clarkson indicate – it might be better to have Young fully off the books by the 2018 offseason.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.