With NBA free agency right around the corner, the Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of tough decisions to make. Not only is the storied franchise looking for a new head coach following the resignation of head coach Mike D’Antoni, but the team only has three players currently on the roster that will need to be filled out this summer. Nick Young is one player that does have a contract with the Lakers for next season, but it is a player option for $1.2 million. Young was the team’s leading scorer last season and proved to be a valuable asset for the Lakers meriting a new contract. It is unclear if the Lakers will be willing to pay Young more than what he’ll be owed, but the veteran guard is willing to take a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News on June 18:
“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”
Young's willingness to accept a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles may greatly improve the team's chances of bringing him back, according to Lakers Nation's Corey Hansford:
Young being willing to stay here for less money increases the likelihood of him remaining with the Lakers, but he will have his options, and the Lakers lack of a coach doesn’t do them any favors either.
With the Lakers having a lottery pick at their disposal during the NBA draft on June 26, a lot will be determined in terms of what direction the team intends to go in this summer after the draft. It is unclear what the team’s free agency plans are in July with limited options for the franchise after signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension back in November of last year.
Rumors have begun to circulate that the Lakers could be waiting to see what happens in free agency before hiring a new head coach. Byron Scott has emerged as the favorite to be named the new head coach, but it is an ongoing process according to GM Mitch Kupchak recently.
Los Angeles may be crossing their fingers in hopes of landing LeBron James if he decides to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat. It may be a stretch that the Lakers have a chance to sign LeBron, but the team seems confident that they’ll at least have an opportunity to give him their sales pitch.
If the Lakers are truly waiting to see what happens with LeBron, signing Young will not be a top priority and a new deal with the sixth man might take some time as a result.