Yesterday, Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard and planetary impresario Nick “Swaggy P” Young took to Twitter—that bastion of thoughtful discourse—to proclaim himself the best shooting guard in the NBA:
Twenty-four hours later, the motivation behind his otherwise insane comment is starting to come into sharper focus, with Young declaring he will “pretty much” opt out of his forthcoming $1.2 million player option.
Here’s what Swaggy told 710 ESPN Radio on Tuesday (via InsideSoCal.com):
I believe I deserve more. Coming back home means the world to me. It would be a blessing to be able to stay here. But I believe I came here and prove I deserve a little more. They’ve been disrespecting Swaggy P.
Who Young meant by “they”—particularly considering his longstanding confusion about first and third person—wasn’t exactly made clear. Is he talking about the Lakers? The fans? Critics? Multiple Nick Youngs? The 15 to 20 superior NBA shooting guards?
Actually, can we talk about that for a second? Now before you start spouting all manner of holy rage like, “Dude, if you have a poster of Michael Jordan on your wall, you're not even the second-best shooting guard in your own own house,” or, "I thought they outlawed bathsalts," let’s give Swaggy the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps the “SG” here stands for, I don’t know, Smooth Guy. Or Salad Gunner. Or Sock General.
Also, what happens when Kobe Bryant hears about this? Does Young understand how competitive Kobe is? Kobe Bryant on roller skates with a bad knee and the bubonic plague could beat Nick Young one on one.
Anyway. To be fair, Young has had a terrific season—by all accounts his best. And he may well have played his way onto next year’s Lakers, who, by virtue of Kobe’s return, a few free-agent signings and whichever lottery pick they end up with, stand to be at least somewhat improved.
Here’s Basketball Insiders’ Yannis Koutroupis speaking on exactly this topic:
The Lakers have their sights set on making big splashes this summer, though, and retaining Young at a higher rate doesn’t exactly guarantee marked improvement. Kobe Bryant is going to be back next season; a lot of the minutes and shots that Young is getting now will go to him. If the Lakers believe he can excel in a smaller role and keep him at a reasonable increase, they’ll extend the offer. If not, they’ll thank him for all his help during this tumultuous season, but let him go onto the next step in his career.
Whatever happens, Young has most certainly played himself into a better tender—and a longer-term deal—going forward. The California native has made no bones about wanting to stay in L.A. Whether he’s willing to sacrifice a perfect payday and more than a little playing time is a different question.
At the same time, Nick Young isn’t dumb; he knows the Jim Buss basically has a license to print money. He’s just fishing for what he feels he deserves after giving sad Lakers fans at least some fleeting glimpses of entertaining basketball.
My guess is, even if it’s slightly below what he wants, if the Lakers make him anything resembling a fair offer, he’ll bite.
Godspeed, Swaggy. You’ll always be a top-five Siberian Giraffe to us.