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.