Update: April 3 at 9:48 pm ET
Young's agent is denying that his client has made any concrete decision regarding his potential free agency, per the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina:
Nick Young's agent insists client has not decided if he will test free agency this offseason http://t.co/YYwpoKHxAg— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 4, 2014
Of course, his client did say he deserves much more money and expects a lot of teams will chase him. So there's that.
---End of Update---
While the seventh-year guard does have a $1.2 million player option that would guarantee him a spot on next year's Lakers roster, he appears set to test the waters of free agency, per NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper:
“Oh, no,” Young said. “Not at all. Most definitely. I deserve much more than that.”
And Swaggy P wants to have a lot of teams chasing him. “Yeah,” Young/P said. “He most definitely does. And I believe a lot will. That’s a solid answer right there.”
Given what we know about the man known as "Swaggy P," he is not only hoping for more money, but also the intense spotlight of a highly-sought free agent. If Young has his way, everyone in the league will be lining up to get a piece of Swaggy.
Young has been one of the NBA's top sixth men this season, averaging 17.3 points a game off the Lakers bench and shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. He also tied his career high in assists, albeit with a paltry (and very Nick Young-like) 1.4 dimes per game.
Add all that up, and you have a player who has outplayed the $1.1 million the Lakers are paying him this season, per NBC Sports' Kurt Helin:
He has a PER [player efficiency rating] right at the league average of 15.1 but he’s making millions less than a league average salary.
Young has shown he can light it up off the bench, which he did for a Lakers team racked by injuries. He had to take on more offense and he ended not only scoring more than he has before in his career (he was at this level in points per game one year in Washington) but more efficiently than ever before as well.
Young has earned a raise. He’s going to get one, the question now is where.
The market for Young's services will be a fascinating subplot of the 2014 offseason, and not (only) because he is one of the league's most colorful players. Young was essentially forced to take a cheap deal last summer, as the market for his services proved to be virtually non-existent. He had developed a reputation as an inefficient, one-dimensional gunner, a player only interested in his own point totals.
Has Nick Young truly changed, or will he revert back to his old form once he's paid? That is the question NBA general managers will have to ask before opening up their checkbooks.
But make no mistake: Nick Young will get more than $1.2 million on the open market...from the Lakers or some other club. The only questions remaining are how much he will get and where he will get it.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.