Jeremy Lin, Nick Young hope to return to Lakers next season

Lakers begin exit meetings early, and Jeremy Lin says he'd like to return to team next season

The Lakers took the unusual step of starting exit meetings before their season ended, a dual symbol of their injury-ravaged roster and, indeed, the desire to make 2014-15 go away as quickly as possible.

Injured players cleaned out their lockers Tuesday and met with, in no particular order, General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Coach Byron Scott and the media at the team's training facility.

It all happened with the franchise on the doorstep of its worst season in 67 years of existence. If the Lakers (21-60) lose their season finale Wednesday to Sacramento, it becomes official — their winning percentage will be lower than that of the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers, who won at a dreadful .264 clip.

Kobe Bryant wasn't there Tuesday, which came as no surprise for a player who annually dictated where and when his exit meeting would take place.

But Jeremy Lin declared he would like to return to the Lakers, Julius Randle expressed hope for the future after an unlucky rookie season, and Nick Young talked about his vacation plans while explaining why he shot an abysmal 36.6%.

"I just blame it on the rim," he said. "The rim was tripping this year. Next year, I'm going to take her out on a date and treat her a little better."

The Lakers' ebullient reserve forward became an in-game albatross and was still recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the team's final 27 games. When Young feels better, he won't exactly be running back to the gym.

"I'll be in Maui if y'all need me," were Young's last words to reporters after he sat down with Kupchak and Scott.

Young, 29, showed a little remorse for a season gone awry after being the Lakers' main free-agent signing last summer. He still has three more years and $16.3 million on his contract.

"Right now, I'm just trying to forget about all that and focus on the relaxation I need," he said softly. "Get away from basketball and get a chance to miss it. Right now, I'm just trying to clear my head."

He butted heads with Scott on a few occasions and drew the ire of Bryant for being part of a giddy postgame celebration in February, a victory over Boston that improved the Lakers' record to 14-41.

Young's declining play makes him eminently expendable if anybody wants him in a trade, but the self-proclaimed "Swaggy P" hopes to stay in L.A., of course.

"I'm confident," he said. "Whatever happens, happens, and it's meant to happen."

Lin, meanwhile, said he "definitely" wouldn't rule out returning to the Lakers in free agency, saying he liked the second half of his season and felt he answered much of Scott's criticism.

"Our respect grew for each other as the season went on," said Lin, who was nicked up by Scott for being a score-first point guard. Scott also went out of his way in January to extol the tough nature of backup guard Ronnie Price while saying in another breath that Lin was, well, not as tough.

Scott then benched Lin for an entire game in late January, which Lin admitted Tuesday was a struggle to accept, especially on a team that was "setting the wrong kinds of records."

"It hurt," Lin acknowledged.

Randle was the first Lakers player to go down this season (not including Steve Nash), sustaining a broken leg in the season opener and ruining the rookie hopes of the seventh overall draft pick.

Throughout his rehabilitation, he was helped by teammate Bryant and fellow Creative Artists Agency client Paul George.

Bryant "texted me as soon as it happened," Randle said. "He said he's there for me. He also said this thing has happened before, not only to him and great players but rookies as well."

Randle said Bryant checked in with him regularly.

George, a guard-forward with the Indiana Pacers, suffered a similar injury while with Team USA last August and recently returned to play, with hopes of making a playoff run. "That's a guy that I've talked to a lot. He's offered encouragement," Randle said.

Randle hopes to play with the Lakers' summer league squad in July. He said he was in better shape now than when he joined the Lakers, but was still awaiting medical clearance for more activity.

Lakers VS. SACRAMENTO

When: 7:30 p.m Wednesday PDT.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 21-60, Kings 28-53.

Record vs. Kings: 1-2.

Update: Omri Casspi had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Kings beat the Lakers on Monday, 102-92, despite sitting All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins and high-scoring forward Rudy Gay. Both players will be absent again Wednesday. Jordan Clarkson suffered a sprained left ankle in the final minute of Monday's game but said he would try to play in the Lakers' season finale.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

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