Lakers Rumors: Nick Young Trade Talks Reportedly Fizzle

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 16, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers' Nick Young gestures to a fan during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to clear out some salary-cap room by trading Nick Young this offseason, but the "Swaggy P" era looks to be continuing for the Purple and Gold.

Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reported recently that there weren't any takers:

Bill Oram @billoram

Heard today Lakers have no plans to trade Nick Young. Called around seeking suitors so they could clear cap room quickly. Didn't materialize

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak hasn't been too shy or tried to dance around the trade speculation that's surrounded Young.

Kupchak's recent comments, per the team's official Twitter account, were hardly a ringing endorsement and could be seen as a critique of Young's game:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Kupchak on Nick Young: "He has to convince our coaching staff that he can play within our system & that doesn’t just mean scoring the ball."

Coach Byron Scott is an old-school coach who runs a Princeton-style offensive system predicated on ball movement and generating clean looks at the basket by moving without the ball.

Young tends to hog the ball and attempt to create his own offense in isolation situations, often resulting in long, contested twos or three-pointers with a high degree of difficulty. It's easy to see why Kupchak appears somewhat skeptical about Young's fit for the future.

Per Basketball-Reference.com, 69.4 percent of Young's field-goal attempts in 2014-15 were from 16 feet or further—and 47.3 percent of those were from three-point range.

Three seasons still remain on Young's four-year contract that amounts to $21.3 million (h/t Spotrac.com). For the sake of Young's NBA career, he must adhere to Kupchak's imploring and find a way to mesh with this current Lakers nucleus.

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With the introduction of more promising pieces to the roster, perhaps Young will play a more disciplined style of basketball as it is. The question is whether he can thrive in any other role rather than instant offense, especially when he isn't getting the same amount of touches he did during last year on a putrid squad.

The perimeter rotation is now crowded with players who will command a lot of shots, and Young is among them. Rookie D'Angelo Russell is a fantastic perimeter shooter, and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson has shown enough promise to warrant the green light when he's open.

Then of course the legendary Kobe Bryant will continue jacking up shots at a rapid rate, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams is going to be asked to score more as well.

Williams essentially fills the role the Lakers were hoping Young might take up, but Young had every chance to lead in 2014-15 and shot a career-low 36.6 percent in 42 games. And the prior statistics show how Young wasn't exactly the most reasonable, judicious shooter.

Russell will be able to create opportunities for teammates, and opponents will have to respect a new-look L.A. frontcourt headlined by All-Star center Roy Hibbert, 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle and newly acquired veteran Brandon Bass.

The wild card there is Randle, who is definitely an offensive-minded player with a fine face-up game. He'll need touches of his own, which creates even fewer opportunities for Young.

It will be interesting to see just how many minutes Young can log if all the wing players stay healthy. If he doesn't make the most of his opportunities off the bench or gripes about his role, Young will be an expensive inconvenience for the organization.

The Lakers may not be able to trade Young until his contract year if that winds up being the case. Young must truly dedicate himself, play smarter basketball and take better quality shots if he wants to be in L.A.'s long-term plans.


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