Hey, Los Angeles, are you ready for a "Stay Swag" campaign?
Lakers swingman Nick Young playfully suggested his team roll out the red carpet for him in the 2014 offseason much in the same way it did for Dwight Howard last summer, according to InsideSoCal.com's Mark Medina.
But make no mistake, the man they call Swaggy P is deadly serious about his desire to stay in Los Angeles long term. At least that's what his agent, Mark Bartelstein, says. Per Medina:
Nick wants to be a Laker. But his focus right now is to get healthy, get back on the court soon and finish rest of the season. That’s a conversation [Lakers GM] Mitch [Kupchak] and I will have, but it’s too early at this point to talk about what he’s going to do.
Young is currently on the shelf with a non-displaced fracture and a bone bruise in his left knee. When he has played, Young has averaged 16.9 points per game, second on the club to only Pau Gasol (17.0).
Young, a Los Angeles native, signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with his hometown club in the 2013 offseason. The deal was a drastic reduction from the $5.6 million tender he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012-13.
Teams seemed to be shying away from Young in the summer of 2013, as his shooting numbers had fallen off since his first four seasons in the league:
- 2008-2011: 43.7 FG%, 38.3 3P%
- 2011-2013: 40.7 FG%, 36.2 3P%
At the time, Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver considered Young's deal a good fit for L.A. but warned he could soon command a better contract if he shot better:
This contract, in comparison to much larger deals given to higher-efficiency wings, is more evidence that this summer’s major theme has been that shooters are en vogue. If Young is able to rediscover the 40 percent three-point shooting touch he displayed back in 2009-10, he might not need to settle for a hometown deal next summer.
Young has actually shot worse from beyond the arc this season (34.9 3P%), but in terms of volume scoring off the bench, he has certainly provided the Lakers with bang for their buck. He also holds a 2014-15 player option for $1.2 million; though, given the way he's played this season, he would be underpaid if he picked up that option.
That fact has not been lost on Mitch Kupchak. According to Medina, the Lakers GM said of Young: “My guess is he’s going to opt out.”
If Young were to opt out, there's no guarantee he would find the rich long-term deal he's seeking elsewhere. Not much has changed since the last time he tested the market—he's still not a great shooter.
Even if Kupchak wants Young back in purple and gold, he would do well to let his player test the market before re-signing him.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.