Report: Nick Young Returns to the Lakers

Darius Soriano —  July 11, 2014

Apparently, the Lakers aren’t done doing business today after trading for Jeremy Lin. According to multiple reports, the team has agreed to bring back Nick Young:

Nick Young is entertaining. And last year he proved to be a good teammate, bringing good spirit and a sense of joy to a lockerroom that desperately needed both. He also had one of, if not his best statistical seasons of his career. There is no doubt that he can play and when you combine that with his love of the game and how he can bring a fun loving nature to a team, I can understand wanting him back.

That said, I am not in love with this deal. Young is already 29 and, if the above report is true, the 4th season is a player option. Maybe a 32 year old Swaggy P decides he wants to test the market one last time before his contract expires, but that seems doubtful to me. In essence, then, the Lakers are paying Young roughly $5 million a year for the next four years. As much as an argument could be made for paying a bench scorer of his caliber this much money, his age makes it more of a gamble than, say, if he were even two years younger.

The flip side to all this, however, is that the Lakers now have another good player on a roster that desperately needs them. Young has his warts and will always have his detractors because of his shot selection and only average defensive ability, but he can impact a game offensively. If his skills on that end of the floor can be harnessed to their maximum potential while finding ways to cover up some of his limitations, he can be a very good contributor on a *contract that is not, from a pure numbers standpoint, totally okay.

If all that sounds like I am trying to sell myself on this deal. It’s because I kind of am. Young surprised me this past season however. Maybe he will do so again.

*The number on Young’s deal — roughly $5 million per year — may be seen as an overpay, but in reality is the equivalent of a mid-level exception contract. Those contracts are typically very tradable assets on the market and can make for good filler in larger deals. I am not trying to trade Young right as he inks his new deal, but it is worth noting that should it ever come to that, his contract could be useful in a variety of ways down the line. Just something to keep in mind.

Darius Soriano

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14 responses to Report: Nick Young Returns to the Lakers

  1. since when is 29 old what are you saying. I am so confused.

  2. For anyone who knows about the cap. Can the Lakers front load this so he’s cheap after 2016, like how the Thunder paid Collison?

  3. James – absolutely. As long as they have the cap space. There is nothing that prevents then from structuring it such that it looks as follows:

    Year 1 – $14 million
    Year 2 – $3 million
    Year 3 – $3 million
    Year 4 – $1 million

    It just doesn’t make a whole ton of sense, especially if the fourth year is a player option.

    The other thing is, the cap hit is distributed across all four years. So the structuring doesn’t affect the space we have to chase free agents next summer or the one after.

  4. James – they can, but I don’t know if specific details of the deal have been announced yet. Front loaded would be appropriate for future flexibility obviously.

  5. Jordan Hill back with Lakers, 2 years, $18M

  6. Woj – Jordan Hill resigns for 2 years. I like that, but $9m seems a touch high.

    Sounds like no Pau to me.

  7. Happy to keep hill …. sad about pau .. Hopefully we can get a pick out of chicago

    Lets go 2015 version of 95 lakers

  8. Simonoid – I wasn’t aware of cap hits. They even out? You sure?

  9. James.
    Simonoid is right. Lin is only an $8M cap hit this year, while his salary is $15M, because $24M divided by 3 = $8M/year. Lin’s deal was structured that year as a poison pill for NY – so they wouldn’t match the contract.

  10. As far as I’m aware. For instance, Lin’s deal costs us $14 million this year as it’s backloaded by Morey two years ago to discourage the Knicks from matching, but the cap hit to us is only $8 million.

  11. It’s a loop hole. Only the original team matching RFA offer will take cap hits based on that contract. So it was prohibitively bad for cap management for knicks/bulls to match lin/asik, but at no cost to houston for offering it (hence `poison pill’). In fact houston got off easy, paying 5m per player for the 2 yrs and shipping them off for the 3rd 15m yr.

  12. Haha Craig W. beat me to it.

  13. haushinka,
    Houston also lost their 2014/15 first round pick and probably something similar to NO for Asik. While they don’t have to pay the money, I am not sure I would call that ‘getting off easy’. With practically all clubs making a profit, the actual $ paid by clubs would seem to be the lesser price – when compared to the ‘cap hit’.

  14. Not a fan of Nick. Did he receive any other offers? I think the Lakers were bidding against themselves here. Four years is two years too long. On a decent team, this guy is a 6th man at best.