Update: The Wizards announced on Monday morning that Nick Young has re-signed with the team. He attended Monday’s practice at Verizon Center. Check Wizards Insider soon for more details.
Original post: Restricted free agent shooting guard Nick Young is in the process of catching a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Washington and is expected to sign his one-year, $3.7 million qualifying offer with the Wizards on Monday, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Young is coming off a career year with the Wizards, finishing as the team’s leading scorer at 17.4 point per game. But he found a rushed free agent market that was unfavorable to players at his position — and restricted free agents in general. Most teams around the league anticipated that the Wizards would match any offer for Young and few had the resources or willingness to give him a lucrative offer sheet.
The Wizards had hoped to sign Young to a long-term deal but were in different neighborhoods during negotiations. Three high-ranking NBA executives said Young was seeking a contract starting around $9 million per season, while the Wizards were willing to give him something closer to the mid-level exception of $5 million, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations.
Among other available shooting guards, Rodney Stuckey agreed to sign a three-year deal with Detroit worth $25 million; Marcus Thornton signed with Sacramento for four years and $33 million; and Jason Richardson agreed to a four-year deal worth $25 million to stay in Orlando. But veterans Jamal Crawford and Richard Hamilton both agreed to short-term deals that will pay them $5 million this season. Denver restricted free agent guard Arron Afflalo remains unsigned.
By signing his qualifying offer, Young will become an unrestricted free agent next season, when the market is expected to be better. Several teams are expected to have considerable salary cap room and few young guards will be available.
Young missed all of training camp and the Wizards’ first preseason game, a 103-78 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, and didn’t want to miss more time.
The Wizards will play the 76ers in their next and final preseason game on Tuesday. Young isn’t expected to be available for that game, but he has been working out on his own in Los Angeles, according to sources.
The Wizards will open the season on Dec. 26 at home against the New Jersey Nets.
Young becomes the 12th player – and third this year – to sign his qualifying tender since rookie scale contracts were established in 1995. Spencer Hawes signed his one-year, $4.1 qualifying offer from Philadelphia and Marco Belinelli signed a one-year, $3.4 million qualifying offer from the New Orleans Hornets.
Ben Gordon, Raymond Felton, Michael Olowokandi, Stromile Swift, Robert Swift, Mickael Pietrus, Melvin Ely, Vladimir Radmanovic and Rasho Nesterovic are the other players who decided to sign qualifying offers to become unrestricted free agents a year later.
None of those players wound up re-signing with their teams, but the Wizards remain optimistic about keeping Young since the team can pay him more money. The Wizards could offer Young five years with 7.5 percent annual raises, while other teams can only give him a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises.