Nick Young is a Laker for life. Players such as Ron Artest and Rick Fox have taken a pay cut just to stay on the Laker team. As their careers matured, the money came in later. LakersNation tweeted he was willing to accept a pay cut to stay a Laker.
Nick Young’s next contract is at least worth the non-taxpayer mid-level exception at the NBA level. Last year, that figure was $5.15 million. The teams that have paid a tax have a lower offer, at $3.18 million. Teams under the cap had $2.65 million to spend.
The idea behind the mid-level exception, is, that the money paid for a player by a team that is a non-taxpayer is getting paid the league average. It assumes that $5.15 million is enough to acquire an average player. The meaning of an average player though, is completely subjective. Some teams may think of an average player as a borderline starter. Some may think that it’s enough for a defensive specialist that comes off the bench. Some may think that it’s enough for a perimeter shooter in limited minutes.
The Lakers have been very fortunate in acquiring talent well above the average when using the mid-level exception. Rick Fox signed as a Laker for $2.25 million back in the late 90′s. Ron Artest earned nearly twice that, roughly ten years later.
Nick Young has been a spark off-the-bench for the Lakers all season long. While he had started on the roster early, his results were short of what his talent is capable of. When he came off the bench, he did so willingly, and became the team’s best isolation player. Several nights throughout the season, he’d score over 25 points, get hot behind the 3-point arc, and helped the Lakers win games.
Depending on what the Lakers do, their offer to Nick Young can change dramatically. If the Lakers opt to stay under the cap, the mid-level exception is nearly half of a non-tax payer’s mid-level exception. If the Lakers choose to keep the roster, the mid-level exception is at a much lower offer, around $3.2 million.
Going for free agent targets while being under the cap allows the Lakers to acquire great talent to compete for a championship. Nick Young, willing to make a financial sacrifice, may be part of the winning formula.