With the free agent negotiating period now going across the NBA in full-force, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been tied to nearly every available shooting guard. O.J. Mayo and J.J. Redick have been mentioned prominently to this point, but could someone who is familiar to president of basketball operations Flip Saunders become a fallback option?
Nick Young spent last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 59 games (17 starts). He spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Washington Wizards after being drafted in the first round (16th overall) in 2007, including the two full seasons (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) that Saunders was the head coach in Washington. Young set a career-high in points (17.4) and minutes per game (31.8) in 2010-2011, so that alone seems to explain any interest Saunders may have in him.
The Timberwolves were the league’s worst three-point shooting team last season (30.5 percent), so Young’s proficiency in that area (37.4 career three-point percentage) would certainly help address a primary need. The Los Angeles Lakers have also reportedly shown interest in him, and signing there may appeal to Young since he was born in Los Angeles and went to school at USC.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN-Twin Cities has reported that the Timberwolves reached out to Young this week, but it’s at best unclear if there is any serious interest on either side. It certainly behooves Saunders to leave no stone unturned in search of a competent shooting guard, and that he turned toward a player he is familiar with is no surprise. But Young should not be at the top of anyone’s list of free agent shooting guards, and bringing him aboard may represent a worst-case scenario for the Timberwolves, since that means they missed out on Mayo, Redick and plenty of others.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.