Posted July 12, 2013

Lakers sign Nick Young to one-year deal

Ben Golliver, Los Angeles Lakers, Metta World Peace, Nick Young
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Nick Young signed with his hometown Lakers. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

The Lakers announced Thursday the signing of unrestricted free agent guard Nick Young to a one-year contract. The Los Angeles Times reports that Young will receive the veteran’s minimum.

“At 6’7,” Nick’s size, ability to create his own shot and athleticism make him a versatile player who will give our lineup multiple looks on the floor,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He’s an exciting player, and we’re excited to have him on our roster.”

The signing comes on the same day that the Lakers released forward Metta World Peace using the amnesty clause.

Young, 28, averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 59 appearances for the Sixers last season. Last summer, he signed a one-year, $5.6 million deal with Philadelphia, so his new deal represents a substantial pay cut.

A Los Angeles native who played his college ball at USC, Young returns to his hometown after spending the latter half of the 2011-12 season playing for the Clippers. Mark Bartelstein, Young’s agent, told the Los Angeles Times that Young was willing to take the $1.2 million veteran’s minimum as a hometown discount.

“He could’ve waited and got more money in free-agent market but his dream has always been to be a Laker,” Bartelstein said.

Young confirmed that sentiment on Twitter: “Thanks for all the Love I’m getting. Lakers Nation all the way!!!”

Blessed with good size and athleticism, the easy-going Young has traditionally filled a niche role as a bench scorer. With Kobe Bryant rehabilitating from a season-ending Achilles injury and World Peace no longer in the picture, it’s possible that the Lakers, who look to be headed for a rebuilding year, will ask more of Young than that. A 2007 first-round pick, Young shot 41.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from deep last season, and while he averaged a career-high 17.4 points in 2010-11 for the Wizards, he’s never posted a PER that is better than league average.

Grade: B. Operating within the tight salary cap confines that constrict the Lakers’ movements, this is a nice pick-up. L.A. has made it clear that it is unwilling to take on future money that will compromise its cap space heading into 2014 free agency, and the departure of World Peace, who played more than 2,500 minutes last year, created a rotation crater. Young’s deal includes no future money, is as cheap as contracts come for players in their prime and he offers a warm body to plug into the rotation. Total excitement isn’t warranted, though, because Young isn’t a consistently efficient scorer or shooter, he doesn’t do much else on offense and he represents a significant downgrade from World Peace on the defensive end. He’s fun but he hasn’t yet proven to be all that substantive.

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.


Nick fails to deliver in the intangibles part of the game. There are so many other important parts of the game besides shooting. Metta World Peace demonstrated the intensity that gets the key rebound, sets an important pick, drives in to make a surprising bounce pass down low for a dunk and he pepped up team mates, giving defensive tips to those who would listen. Nick must grow in many areas to help the Lakers effectuate a run through the play-offs. His one dimension of shooting will not be enough. Sorry to poor cold water on the acquisition, but why with so much offensive explosiveness have teams been ready to part with Nick Young? An NBA player must have heart for the total game,including defensive assignments, or suddenly nobody's excited about passing them the ball. Also, without active participation in team tom foolery, you can seem icy to team mates and to fans. Suddenly, an aloofness brings forth despair, not unity or fire of spirit. There will not always be highlight slams or multiple threes nights to pump ones fist. On those struggling nights how will Nick let team mates know he's one of them?


It's a good pick-up, for both parties. He's got a chucker's reputation, for sure, and it's well deserved. But look at the teams he's been with: Washington featured the gun incident, and Arenas was injured for that time, as well; just a team of kids. in Philadelphia, he was supposed to provide slashing and shooting on a team featuring Bynum, and well...

The Clippers were the only team with some veterans and purpose, but still to far away from a contender.

The Lakers aren't gonna be contenders, but with Nash distributing the ball, and Gasol and Kaman also being really good passers from the post area, Young should get quality looks. If he goes nuts, the veterans should be able to provide some guidance.

He and Jodie Meeks and Blake should provide decent shooting options around Nash and Gasol, who need good shooters around them in order to be effective at their age.

With Metta gone, the Lakers will need another small forward, and I'm hoping maybe Turkoglu will come on board. It might make for a horrible defensive team on paper, with slow or uninterested players, but those players being around Nash might provide some chemistry which goes a long way these days...

The Spurs provided a good model: they only have 2 athletic players on their rosters, Parker and Leonard, but they've balanced their roster with serviceable role players that get it done. Take any of them out of SA and they'll "loose" their value. 

Come to think of it, a low-key scenario would be the Lakers going after Odom and Turkoglu as secondady shot-creators for the second unit. What the LAL has been lacking, ever since Phil left town, is SHOT CREATION. The triangle enabled lots of decision-making to its players and Pau, Odom and Fisher fit that bill. The things they've tried the past years involved slow-footed players, which accentuated their lack of offensive imagination.

If there's one thing D'Antoni's team have provided, it's ball-movement and shot making. In between them, Nash, Blake, Farmar, Meeks, Kobe, Young, Turkoglu, Gasol and Kaman are above average shooters for their positions.

I'd rather watch this collection of old-geezers than hack-a-Dwight ;)