As forward Metta World Peace departed the Los Angeles Lakers, the team signed free agent guard Nick Young, an old friend of USC, who has accepted a hometown discount to play in Staples Center next season.
Mark Bartelstein, Young’s lawyer, told the Los Angeles Times that Young was willing to take the veteran’s minimum of $1.2 million after playing one season with the Philadelphia 76ers, who paid him $5.6 million. Young averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 59 games for the Sixers last season. He played the latter half of the 2011-12 season with the LA Clippers.
Young, a Los Angeles native, said via Twitter, “Thanks for all the Love I’m getting. Lakers Nation all the way.”
In his NBA career to date, the tall, athletic Young, who also plays small forward, has usually provided points off the bench. But with Kobe Bryant recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury and World Peace being released via the Lakers’ amnesty clause, Young could play a larger role, especially with veteran Steve Nash as the team’s ball-handling point guard.
Young played for USC from 2004-07. In the 2007 NCAA Tournament, he led the fifth-seeded Trojans to a berth in the Sweet 16, where they lost to the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels.
Following his junior season, Young announced in 2007 that he would forgo his senior year to turn pro and enter the NBA Draft, where he was selected with the 16th overall pick by the Washington Wizards. On a particularly good shooting night, Young once scored 30 points against the Lakers.
“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 General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He’s an exciting player, and we’re excited to have him on our roster.”
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