NBA AM: Young Prefers Lakers, Will Test Market

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Lakers’ Young likely to opt out and test free agency market, but prefers Los Angeles

The 2013-14 campaign was a forgettable affair for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team finished 27-55, the second worst season in franchise history, driven by the absence of fading legends and future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. The duo combined to appear in just 21 games this past season and both will enter the summer with huge doubts on whether they can ever regain elite form again.

The Lakers are at a pivotal crossroads. The trio of Bryant, Nash and reserve center Robert Sacre represent the only three players with guaranteed deals for next season heading into the summer.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has his work cut out filling the remaining roster spots before training camp with $34 million of the team’s cap next season already occupied by Bryant and Nash.

Veteran shooting guard Nick Young, who led the Lakers in scoring this season, has a player option for the 2014-15 campaign worth $1.2 million.

A source very close to Young recently told Basketball Insiders the Los Angeles native would prefer to wear a Lakers uniform next season despite the uncertainty of the team’s roster and the vacant head coach position.

However, the source fully believes Young will elect to opt out of his deal this summer in order to fully evaluate his options on the free agent circuit in July.

Young, who averaged 17.9 points per game this season in 64 contests, is expected to be in high demand this summer by teams with cap space looking to bolster their perimeter attack and scoring depth.

According to the source, the purpose of opting out of his deal would be driven by the desire to lock up a more lucrative long term contract with the Lakers. But at the end of the day anything can happen during free agency and that’s where keeping all options open has importance.

This season marked just the sixth time in franchise history that the Lakers failed to reach the playoffs.

Chris Bosh says he will take a pay cut to remain in Miami

As the Miami HEAT are on the verge of their fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals it is safe to say the experiment of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James has been a resounding success since they joined forces in 2010.

However, this summer is a crucial one for Miami’s front office from a financial flexibility standpoint.

Bosh, James and Wade are all expected to exercise their early termination options within their respective deals this summer in pursuit of lucrative multi-year deals. While none of those guys are expected to leave Miami in free agency, the deal each ultimately re-signs for is going to be an early indicator on if the HEAT can continue its league dominance moving forward.

Guard Norris Cole is the only HEAT player under contract for next season. With so many roster spots to fill in order to maintain their momentum what Miami’s big three re-up for will be in huge in the type of talent their front office is able to lure to South Beach.

Bosh makes it clear he has no desire to leave Miami this summer and believes most players in the league would jump at the opportunity if they were in his shoes.

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to go anywhere,” Bosh said during his appearance on The Dan LeBatard show on Tuesday afternoon. “I like it here. It’s Miami. Everybody wants to come here. Yeah.”

The veteran forward also hinted that he would be willing to take a pay cut if that’s what it took to continue Miami’s recent.

“If that’s what it takes,” Bosh added.

Bosh has averaged 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds on 51 percent shooting in four seasons with the HEAT. He has been selected to nine All-Star appearances and was named to the All-NBA second team in 2007 as a member of the Toronto Raptors.