Using their last real financial avenue to a mildly pricy free agent, the Warriors agreed to terms with veteran forward Nick Young on a one-year, $5.2 million contract on Wednesday, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by Young’s agency.
The deal was made using the full taxpayer mid-level exception, snatching another streaky shooter — one day after snaring Omri Casspi — that the Warriors apparently coveted.
Young is 32 years old and about to enter his 11th season. His first five were spent in D.C. with the Wizards, where he arrived onto the NBA scene as a high-volume shooter, occasionally big scorer, reluctant passer and flawed defender.
Young’s first big season came in 2010-11, his fourth year, when he averaged 17.4 points per game with the Wizards, playing alongside JaVale McGee. That included a career-high 43-point game vs. the Kings.
Young then bounced around to the Clippers and Sixers at the start of this decade, his career sputtering a bit, before he reappeared as a useful microwave scorer off the bench for the Lakers in the 2013-14 season, when he averaged a career-high 17.9 points per game.
In the two seasons that followed, as the Lakers continued to lose, Young’s production dipped as the distractions around him increased. That included an infamous Snapchat video posted by then rookie D’Angelo Russell showing Young admitting to cheating on celebrity girlfriend Iggy Azalea, bringing a wave of unwanted attention.
Entering last season, Luke Walton’s first as head coach of the Lakers, there were rumors that the franchise had plans to cut Young. But Walton arrived and the two reportedly connected. Young again re-emerged as a useful player, this time still productive on offense but a bit more committed on defense. Last season, while starting 60 games and averaging 13.2 points, he probably had his best defensive season yet.
Because of it, he was coveted by a few teams when he hit the market this July, likely commanding somewhere near double-digit millions and at least two years if he chased it.
But the Warriors didn’t have the money or years to dig into Young. They just had the full taxpayer mid-level of $5.2 million and no desire to commit money beyond this season.
But in recent days, they’ve recruited Young. Draymond Green was seen partying with him, posting a video of the two in the club with a “Warriors?” caption. Kevin Durant, who shipped almost this exact amount of money back to the Warriors by taking an unexpected paycut, had been in daily contact with Young.
The Warriors wanted him and the lure of a title chase, the Bay Area and superstar recruiters was apparently enough to get him on a discount.
“We intend to enter into a player contract with Nick Young once the Moratorium Period ends (on Thursday),” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said.
So now the roster now stands at 13. Ten are players that were already on the team last season: Steph Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Patrick McCaw, Damian Jones, David West and Kevon Looney.
Three are newcomers: rookie Jordan Bell, Casspi and Young, basically filling the James Michael McAdoo, Matt Barnes and Ian Clark roster slots.