The Washington Post

Nick Young signs one-year deal, practices for first time

Nick Young caught a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Washington, signed his one-year, $3.7 million qualifying offer with the Wizards on Monday and was back on the floor practicing with his teammates.

It was a rapid turnaround for Young, who grew tired of waiting for his contract situation to get settled and decided it was better to get back on the court, with his team, rather than wait for something else to happen.

Young wasn’t totally pleased with the outcome, feeling that the NBA forcing training camps to coincide with the free agent negotiating period damaged his leverage and made it difficult to get the desired deal in a down market.

But, instead of focusing on what didn’t happen, Young will put his attention on what he can control with the Wizards. “I’m just taking it out on the league,” said Young, who averaged a career-best 17.4 points last season. “I’m not going to sit back and pout. Nobody owes nobody nothing. It’s a business, and if they want me back, I’ll come back to the Wizards. I’m happy to be here.”

Young went through the entire practice without any problems, but Coach Flip Saunders was unsure if the team’s leading scorer from last season would be available for the final preseason game on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

“We’ll have to see,” Saunders said. “We’ll have a shootaround and practice tomorrow and see whether we use him tomorrow, see how he feels and that. But we open up a week from today so we’re going to have to facilitate his progress, no question, over the next six days.”

Young held a mini-training camp of his own, working out in Los Angeles each morning while waiting for his contract situation to get settled.

“I’m good,” Young said, when asked about his conditioning. “I’m not that bad ’cause it’s not worked out. I don’t want to come back like Shawn Kemp, Vin Baker or someone. I feel I’m in good shape and eventually can play.”

Young was running through a series of shooting drills near the end of practice, running around screens and working on improving his ability to catch and shoot. Among players with at least 100 three-point attempts, Young led the Wizards in long range shooting at 38.7 percent. He gives the Wizards another perimeter weapon.

“It’s good to have Nick back because he’s a cornerstone of what we’ve been trying to do,” Saunders said. “Would we have liked to signed him to a long-term deal? Yeah, but things didn’t work out. They’ll work out in the end so I expect him to come in and have a great year for us.”

When asked his mentality as he enters a contract season for the second year in a row, Young said, “Same but different, you know. They expect more out of me so I’ve got to try to bring more to the table.”


Wizards work on cutting down turnovers

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Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.


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