Young might not get the chance.
If the Lakers can’t trade him as they hope, they’re ready to resort to other options.
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.