Nick Young informs Lakers he's opting out of his contract to become a free agent

As expected, veteran Nick Young has decided to opt out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN on June 24:

Nick Young has informed the Los Angeles Lakers that he will not pick up his player option and will become a free agent, his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.com.

Young could’ve secured his short-term future with the Lakers by opting in to make $1.2 million next season, but after a career-year, the journeyman wants a raise.

Sportscenter helped confirm the report that Young has indeed opted out of his contract with the Lakers via Twitter:

Lakers G/F Nick Young opts out of contract with Lakers and will become free agent.

At this point in time, the Lakers seem intent on landing a big-name free agent this summer. The storied franchise will pursue LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency, but are considered long shots to sign either superstar.

With the Lakers eyeing bigger fish on the free agent market, Young may take a backseat until LeBron and Melo are off the table. Young led the Lakers in scoring last season with a career-high 17.9 points per game and finished eighth in the voting for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Although many questioned Young’s ability to be a force in Los Angeles, the veteran guard/forward played much better than expected. The Lakers may have finished with a franchise-worst 27-55 record, but Young shined when on the floor and became the main reason for Los Angeles being able to stay in games.

Young’s ability to be an offensive force off the bench proved to be a valuable asset. It remains to be seen if the Lakers truly value Young enough to pay his asking price, whatever that might be, but he’s definitely earned another contract with the team or at least a lucrative deal elsewhere.

The Lakers brass will have some tough decisions to make this summer with only three players currently under contract. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are the only players that are on the books for the Lakers right now with Kendall Marshall having a non-guaranteed deal at $915,243.

With Marshall being a cheap option for the Lakers, it is expected that he’ll be retained. Other potentially cheap options for the team in free agency include Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, Kent Bazemore and Ryan Kelly. All four of these players have expressed interest returning to Los Angeles next season, but it is unclear if they’ll be re-signed.