The Lakers are hurtling towards the end of this wretched season, with the weeks moving at a glacial pace that makes Los Angeles feel like Buffalo. There's no doubt the team is in the midst of a massive rebuilding movement, especially without Kobe Bryant's competitive fire to confuse some feelings about whether or not the team should be attempting to win each night.
The front office is looking long and hard at the team game to game, trying to figure out who is a building block and who is expendable. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson are definitely the former, while Jordan Hill and Jeremy Lin mostly look like they're with the latter. Going down the roster, it's usually not difficult to distinguish between either group.
But what about SwaggyP?
If you were in the Lakers' front office, would you entertain dealing Nick Young at the trade deadline? Why or why not?
Tom Fehr: If the Lakers can actually get someone to take Nick Young for anything, then yes. He is not a piece I want on the Lakers long-term and giving him 3 years PLUS a player option after his trial run last year was pretty insane, even if the money isn't that bad. It's not that he is that awful, he's just not a guy you need to commit to having on your roster for 5 total years.
The Great Mambino: I love Nick Young as much as any other Lakers fan starved for a hometown player with a hint of charisma, but I'm not letting that cloud my judgment here: I wouldn't deal SwaggyP if I were in the front office, but it's not for a lack of trying. As I wrote in my trade value column yesterday, the Lakers need all the assets they can gather, whether that be in the form of draft picks, trade exceptions or young prospects. If Young could fetch any of those commodities in a trade, I'd say ship him out faster than you could say the word "dolphin". But again, as I wrote, Swaggy's contract might be a bit too long for another team to take on, especially considering what a poor year he's having. The former Trojan swingman is still young enough that he could be a valuable player who contributes to a potential run for the playoffs, either next season or the one after.
Harrison Faigen: It would be foolish to ever just say a flat out "no". As with any player, the answer to this question is based entirely on what is being offered for them. I would absolutely trade Nick Young if a team came offering a bushel of draft picks (Sorry Swaggy).
But if the question is more "Am I looking to salary-dump Nick Young at the the trade deadline" then the answer is no. He may be in a prolonged slump this year, but with the salary cap projected to skyrocket this coming off-season, his deal that is around $5 million a year is certainly defensible/salvageable. Color me an optimist, but I believe that the Swag will be re-unleashed if and when the Lakers are a little more competitive and not forced to wallow in their own misery and poor play like this season.
Sabreena Merchant: I can't imagine Swaggy fetching any real value at the trade deadline right now, and there's no sense in just dumping his salary when the Lakers are struggling to field a complete lineup of competent NBA players. For his sake, I'd love to see Nick Young salvaged in a more D'Antoni-esqe offense, but I think he's stuck in L.A. for now.
The CDP: No, I don't think so. The length of his contract pretty much ensures he won't get much back, and it would take a team very desperate for a 6th man to take on that kind of money. I think Young as a Laker has proven he has some value in this league and could be a great asset in the right circumstances, but I can't imagine the Lakers will get something back for him that matches the value he gives this team. Struggling or not, Young is the heart of the Lakers right now.
Do you think he's got value on the trade market? What is it?
Tom Fehr: My answers to these questions might get kind of redundant, but no, I don't think he has any trade value. I would be surprised if anyone was interested in acquiring him, let alone for anything of tangible value.
The Great Mambino: Whether it be a training camp injury to his shooting hand or perhaps that defenses are keying in on one of the only reliable sources of offense on a really horrible squad, there's no doubt that Young's value has taken a big hit from last season. He's shooting below 40% and not hitting threes at the same prolific clip as 2013-2014, which is making a $16M dollar player look all the less tantalizing. There is always going to be a market for shooters, but Young's contract and poor performance has just about killed his market, barring a serious injury or an extremely aggressive GM.
Harrison Faigen: No, sadly Swaggy's struggles have probably lowered his value enough that LA has more incentive to keep him than deal an asset to dump him. Which is to say I think Young's value has depreciated enough that most NBA GM's are more scared of the length of his contract than Nick is of dolphins, and the only sort of trade he would be able to be included in over the next few days is a salary dump.
Sabreena Merchant: Nick Young's entertainment value may be at an all-time high, but his trade value is nearly nonexistent. He's on a contract that seems like an overpay even with the growing salary cap (3 yrs, $16+ mill left), and he'll turn 30 this off-season. His weaknesses have been magnified in Byron Scott's offense, and he's become increasingly brittle. I still think Swaggy can turn it around, but there isn't a huge market for inefficient, volume scorers.
The CDP: Very very little, if any. Too much money, too many years on his contract. Long-term money is toxic in the NBA, especially for a non-performing asset and Nick Young has not had a great year. He has struggled from the field (shooting sub 40%), clashed with Byron Scott, and has missed some real time with injuries. Even if he was putting up 6th man of the year caliber numbers like last year, I'm not sure if there would be a robust trade market for him.
Is Nick Young more of a building block to you, a future trade asset or a fun distraction to keep Lakers fans occupied?
Tom Fehr: A distraction that was fun for a little while and is getting old pretty fast. I don't dislike Nick Young, and I enjoy his postgame quotes and his occasional fun stretches on the court, but no, I don't think he's a building block or a trade asset.
The Great Mambino: To me, Young looks like a future trade asset. Unless the team has a monumental summer in free agency and nabs that number one pick, I would be surprised if the team is competing for a playoff spot within the length of Young's deal. As the years and dollars on his contract become lighter next season, I'd expect him to become a better trade chip. Dealing him now would be doing so as his value totally bottoms out. He's definitely a distraction right now, but less and less fun as the Lakers tumble further and further down the standings.
Harrison Faigen: Young is a player best suited to a sixth man role, and while he has shown he can fill such a role well at the peak of his abilities, it is hard to call that a "building block" of a team. The hometown kid would also seem to be more valuable to the Lakers organization as a marketing tool and player than he would for another team, so being a future trade asset seems unlikely.
This leaves the last option, and the one Young is best at. In the last week alone, Young has been fined for being fifteen minutes late, revealed he is afraid of dolphins because he tried to fight one after it got too cozy with his girlfriend, and claimed that he will spend his All Star break hunting the cetaceans as a consequence. The rapper dating, GQ profile subject and Forever 21 spokesman will surely always draw more headlines than just his play would warrant, and because these headlines are not of the police blotter variety, a fun distraction is the role the man called Swaggy is best suited for.
Hard for a blogger like me to complain, either. Thanks for all the free material Nick!
Sabreena Merchant: My favorite thing about Nick Young is how much he just loves being a Laker. After striking out again and again in free agency, it's kind of refreshing to have a guy who is so enthused about being a part of this franchise. I wouldn't go so far as to call Swaggy a building block, but the other players seem to enjoy having him around, and he's shown that he can contribute positively to a winning team, like he did for the Clippers in 2012, he just hasn't had that opportunity very often. I still have faith that Young can become a JR Smith-type player if and when the Lakers are good again. There's so little to love about this current team, but Young is easy to root for. For now, that makes him worth keeping around.
The CDP: It's hard to pin down his future with the Lakers, but I think he's a bit of a building block and doing a bang-up job as a distraction in the short-term. Although it would have been inconceivable to say about Nick Young with the Wizards, he's been a great locker room guy and positive influence for the Lakers during what will be the two worst seasons in franchise history. He loves being here and entertains the fans, on and off the court. He's a great guy to have on your team. Last year, he put up borderline fluky numbers, but he's also shown that he can be a real contributor, particularly as a spark plug off the bench. Young may not be the most efficient, but he is an above average 3-point shooter and can create his own shot. While no one will ever mistake him for Bruce Bowen, he has also shown he's willing to commit to a team defense as well. Nick Young won't carry the Lakers on his back to their former glory, but he'll be a useful piece when they get there.