SACRAMENTO -- Sad news for
But good news for Young: Lakers governor Jeanie Buss loves his personality, seeing a player who can connect with fans.
It might not lead to more money when he becomes a free agent this summer, because Buss defers to her brother, Jim, and Lakers General Manager
But it can't hurt the player who calls himself "Swaggy P," the "P" still an unknown entity that Young is reluctant to reveal.
He was the center of attention again in a slightly unorthodox way before Wednesday's game against Sacramento.
The son of
His teammates ribbed him when the shoes were delivered to the locker room an hour before tip-off. Mr. Popular, he is.
He recently missed 16 games because of a fracture and bone bruise in his left knee but it didn't stop his stock from rising. He had 40 points Tuesday against Portland, three shy of his career-high.
It all points to him declining the $1.2-million player option he owns next season and getting a nice pay raise. It remains to be seen whether the Lakers are the ones who give it to him.
Young has been a fountain of quotes this season, continuing recently when he returned from his knee injury.
Why wasn't he wearing a brace?
"Wearing a brace makes me look old. I can't be looking like that out there," he said.
Why did he take so long to return to game action?
"They say I'm looking fat out here so I've got to get out there and get in shape" in practice, he said.
He also detailed his rapport with the injured and frustrated
"He talks trash to me a lot. He says, 'I don't talk to players whose teams are under [.500 by] 20 games' and all that," Young said. "But that's Kobe being Kobe."
An obvious favorite of Lakers followers, Young wasn't so thrilled last month when his Sherman Oaks home was robbed of about $100,000 in goods during a Lakers game.
"I was just shocked they tried to get 'Swaggy,' " he said the morning after the crime. No arrests have been made, Young said Wednesday.
He had 17 points in the Lakers' 107-102 loss to Sacramento.
"The biggest thing is our foot speed is just not good," he said. "They're trying a lot of times. and if they get a little tired, it's even worse and they get a little distracted.
"And probably what's happened more than what we would like is that sometimes offensively we don't share the ball as well. And guys take offense to it and their energy sags on the defensive end."
It all sounds about right.