Joe Young

And-Ones: Olympics, Playoff Pay, Coronavirus, J. Young

With the start and end dates for the 2020/21 NBA season still very much up in the air, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo is having a hard time planning for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, as Chris Sheridan of writes. Colangelo tells Sheridan that Lakers forward LeBron James and other U.S. stars have conveyed interest in participating in those Olympics, but haven’t been able to commit to anything due to the uncertainty of the schedule.

“I was told the NBA season would start in December, and then it was Christmas, and then after January 1, and that keeps pushing the schedule for me,” Colangelo said. “The NBA season typically takes 170 or 171 days to complete, so that creates a conflict on paper.”

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23, with qualifying tournaments for the final four spots in the men’s tournament set to tip off on June 29. If the ’20/21 season runs deep into the summer again, it will compromise the availability of NBA players for Team USA and other countries, but Colangelo remains hopeful that many of those players will be able to participate.

“If the (NBA) season conflicts with the Olympics, I might have 14 non-playoff teams to choose from, but then other players will become available as the NBA playoffs progress,” Colangelo told Sheridan. “The problem is that the ICO has a rule mandating an early submission of a 12-man roster. But with a pandemic, the hope would be that you’ve got to set aside outdated rules. I assume people will be reasonable and come up with some kind of a program that works.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The winner of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Heat will earn $5,791,041 of this year’s league-wide playoff pool money, notes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The losing team will divvy up a $4,399,686 share.
  • The NBA, which is hoping to play games in teams’ home arenas during the 2020/21 season, sent a 32-page manual to clubs outlining the cleaning and disinfecting protocols to “reset” those arenas, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Former Pacers guard Joe Young is returning to the Chinese Basketball Association for the 2020/21 season, signing a deal with the Beijing Royal Fighers, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays. After spending three seasons in Indiana from 2015-18, Young has played for the Nanjing Monkey King in China for the last two years.

Lakers Notes: Johnson, Hart, Summer League, Offseason

Former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson expects the new LeBron JamesAnthony Davis pairing to be successful, he said this week at the 2019 BET Experience Genius Talks, as relayed by Alexis Mansanarez of Sporting News.

“LeBron is still, you know, the best in basketball,” Johnson said. “And I think that when you put another superstar with him, an Anthony Davis, both of them will allow each other now to really play their game and dominate, because what happens, the floor will open up.

“And LeBron is such an incredible passer and driver, and he always makes his teammate better. So look for Anthony really to have probably one of his greatest seasons.”

Johnson resigned from his position toward the end of the 2018/19 season, but remains a strong supporter of the team he spent his entire playing career with.

Los Angeles traded away a major haul to acquire Davis from New Orleans: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks. With general manager Rob Pelinka taking over the day-to-day duties in Johnson’s absence, the team must now work to effectively fill the holes around Davis and James entering the 2019/20 season.

Here are some other notes out of Los Angeles tonight:

  • Former Lakers guard Josh Hart bid farewell to the team on social media after he was traded to New Orleans. “I want to thank the Laker organization, Jeanie Buss & Magic Johnson for taking a chance on me & believing in me,” Hart wrote. “To my teammates thank you for teaching me how to play & grow in this league. To the fans….THANK YOU! Thank you for embracing me and for supporting me through all the ups and downs! One of the best fan bases in the league. It was a dream come true to wear the purple and gold! It’s always love on this side but now N.O ‘Let’s dance.'”
  • Free agents Joe Young and Dakota Mathias have committed to playing summer league with the Lakers, Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles opens summer league play on July 5 against Chicago.
  • Ameer Tyree of Sporting News outlines three things the team needs to add in order to be successful next season. Among the improvements needed is more outside shooting, a category the team lacked in this past season.

Joe Young Expected To Play In China

Former Pacers guard Joe Young is expected to make the move overseas to China for the 2018/19 season, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Carchia reports that Young has agreed to terms with Chinese team Nanjing Monkey King.

Young, who spent three seasons in Indiana, appeared in 127 total games for the club, but never played major minutes, averaging only 8.5 MPG. In 2017/18, he recorded 3.9 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 10.5 MPG, with a .430/.379/.759 shooting line.

The Pacers declined Young’s team option for the 2018/19 season back in June, making him an unrestricted free agent. That was the last we’d heard on Young until now — if any NBA teams had interest in him over the last month, that interest wasn’t reported, so it makes sense that he’d explore international opportunities.

Assuming he makes his deal with Nanjing official, Young will become the latest in a string of NBA players to spend time with the club. Hassan Whiteside is the most noteworthy former member of the squad, which has also featured J.J. Hickson, Jared Cunningham, DeJuan Blair, and Von Wafer in recent years.

Pacers Decline Team Option On Joe Young

The Pacers have decided not to exercise Joe Young‘s option for the 2018/19 season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The move ensures that Young will become a free agent on July 1.

Indiana could technically still issue a qualifying offer to Young to make him a restricted free agent, but that seems unlikely. Assuming today’s deadline passes with no qualifying offer from the Pacers, the 26-year-old will be unrestricted on Sunday.

Young, who spent three seasons in Indiana, appeared in 127 total games for the club, but never played major minutes, averaging only 8.5 MPG. In 2017/18, he averaged 3.9 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 10.5 MPG, with a .430/.379/.759 shooting line.

The Pacers are one of the only NBA playoff teams projected to have cap room this offseason. Having been linked to a handful of free agent targets, Indiana will now have a little more flexibility to make offers with Young off the books for 2018/19.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are in an enviable position mere months after it seemed like they were doomed to a long and challenging rebuild. The breakout seasons enjoyed by Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis have helped distract from the absence of Paul George while the all-around contributions of an unheralded, cohesive veteran lineup has put Indiana firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Pacers didn’t make a major splash at the trade deadline and were even asked specifically by players to avoid tinkering with the chemistry in the locker room. While it’s hard to argue that the franchise made the wrong call standing pat with a roster that’s punched above its weight on a nightly basis, the Pacers have a long road ahead of them before they’re considered serious challengers, even in the East.

It’s refreshing to see a team build anew without bottoming out. Solid drafting and some responsible payroll management will help them climb to the next rung on the ladder.Cory Joseph vertical

Cory Joseph, PG, 26 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $29.9MM contract in 2017
Joseph has thrived as the younger half of a point guard tandem charged with the task of helping the Pacers play a faster style of basketball. While he’s ceded the majority of the starts so far this season to Darren Collison, Joseph is a solid rotation piece and possible future starter. It’s likely we’ve already caught a glimpse of his ceiling, so the former Raptors probably won’t draw major money on the open market. That being said, it’s hard to imagine he couldn’t procure a raise if he turns down his 2018/19 player option worth just less than $8MM.

Glenn Robinson III, SF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.4MM contract in 2015
After breaking into Indy’s rotation in 2016/17, an ankle injury put Robinson III’s latest campaign on hold until after the All-Star Game. The Pacers may see some upside in the former second-round pick, and likely won’t have to outbid many competitors to retain his services should they wish to do so. Assuming the swingman’s health holds up in the final stretch of 2017/18, expect the club to lock him in for at least a few more seasons at an affordable rate. At this stage in the game, the Pacers can justify the low-risk, medium-reward lottery ticket.

Lance Stephenson, SG, 27 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $12.6MM deal in 2017
While Stephenson’s career took a turn for the worse after he flew the coop in 2014, his return to Indiana has helped restore his value as a professional basketball player. The 27-year-old may not be the irreplaceable triple-double machine the Hornets hoped he would be when they poached him from Indiana four years ago, but he’s a solid rotation piece whose contributions to the Pacers franchise are both mysterious and intangible. Expect the club to bring their enigmatic swingman back on his dirt-cheap $4.4MM team option.

Joe Young, PG, 26 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $5.1MM deal in 2015
The Pacers have never seemed particularly intent on working Young into their rotation. While you could argue that a consistently competitive squad like Indiana may be inherently reluctant to throw big minutes at an inexperienced point guard, he only topped the 20-minute plateau four times during his first two years in the league. The 25-year-old has seen an uptick in usage since Collison went down with a knee injury in early February, but the club may be better off turning down his team option and seeing what else they could do with the roster spot.

Thaddeus Young, PF, 30 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $53.9MM deal in 2015
Young has established himself as a critical component of this Pacers team and fills the role of do-everything veteran forward admirably. While the almost-30-year-old’s services would be welcomed by several other contending teams, it’s hard to imagine Young’s camp being all that confident they’d land more than $13.8MM in a bear market. If Indiana was knee deep in the turbulent rebuild many expected, it would make sense for Young to take that chance, but given that the opposite is true, I anticipate him accepting the 2018/19 player option and returning as a leader on and off the court.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.