Updates from Monday, July 21
The Lakers confirmed Nick Young's contract via the team's Twitter account on Monday:
The artist also known as "Swaggy P" agreed to a deal to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman had the news and Turner Sports' David Aldridge followed with terms of the deal:
Nick Young has agreed to remain with the Lakers, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 11, 2014
Nick Young's deal to remain in L.A. with the Lakers is $21.5 million over four years, with a fourth year player option.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 11, 2014
Young, 29, averaged a career-high 17.9 points and shot 38.6 percent from three-point range last season with the Lakers. A former USC standout, the L.A. homecoming proved a perfect fit for Young as he excelled in Mike D'Antoni's uptempo system and revived his stock around the league.
The Lakers were Young's fourth team in three seasons, and though few doubted his scoring ability, bouts with immaturity plagued previous stops. Working as a primary scorer amid injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and a collection of other players, Young not only recaptured his shooting stroke but became a source of joy amid an otherwise dark season in LakerLand.
Despite publicly stating his admiration for the franchise and indicating that being a Laker was a dream come true, Young opted out in hopes of securing a long-term deal.
“I believe I deserve more,” Young told 710 ESPN Radio. “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 proved I deserve a little more. They’ve been disrespecting Swaggy P.”
Los Angeles Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan spoke with Young's agent Mark Bartelstein, who said Young could have chased more money elsewhere but wanted to return to L.A.:
Agent Mark Bartelstein: Nick Young "had a chance to make more money coming off the year he had but this is where he wanted to make his home"— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 11, 2014
The short-term deal gives Young a raise from the $1.23 million he was due while also protecting against long-term damage. Young, for all of his entertainment factor, is still a one-dimensional player. He has never averaged more than 1.5 assists per game during a season and has also never reached the three-rebound plateau.
Defense has also always been an issue. When engaged, Young can approach average as an on-ball stopper and can pick up the occasional steal. But team defense concepts have been an issue since Young came into the league, and he's still being constantly beaten on back-door cuts and missed rotations.
His effectiveness essentially comes down to one question: Is the shot falling? When the answer is yes, Young has a place on an NBA roster. He's a career 37.7 shooter from beyond the arc, an impressive number given how often he's pulling up off the dribble.
Young's six pull-up jumpers per game this season were equivalent to Monta Ellis and ranked among the 20 highest averages in the league, per SportVU data provided by the NBA.
Young also typically favors the less-efficient, above-the-break three to the juicy corner, though the stats indicate he might want to start camping there more. He made 44 percent of his corner threes last season versus a more modest 36.5 percent elsewhere.
Perhaps as Young ages, he'll mature into the type of player who better knows his strengths and can pick and choose his spots. If not, the Lakers will have to revisit this investment.
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter @tylerconway22.