- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2011

At one point during Friday night’s blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Verizon Center fans began chanting for the team to bring back Nick Young.

“Oh, for real?” Young said upon hearing that news, clearly pleased that so many Wizards fans missed him. Young was the team’s leading scorer last season, averaging 17.4 points per game. On Monday, Young signed a one-year deal with the Wizards, and was back on the practice court.

“It was a tough decision, I just wanted to be back with the Wizards,” Young said. “We worked hard to get something done, we just couldn’t come to an agreement. I just have to work hard, get back with the team, and get back to playing basketball.”

Young had hoped to sign a long-term deal, and was reportedly seeking an offer somewhere in the range of $9 million per season, but found no takers at that price. By signing a one-year qualifying offer with the Wizards, Young will become an unrestricted free agent next season, taking a chance that he’ll find the lucrative long-term deal he’s seeking at the conclusion of this season.

“I’m just taking it out in the league. I’m not going to sit back and pout,” Young said.

“Nobody owes nobody nothing, it’s a business. If they want me back, I’ll come back to the Wizards.” Young said.

Young said he saw some of Friday night’s preseason loss to the 76ers.

“Yeah, it was tough to see them lose like that. I talked to coach [Flip Saunders], talked to [President] Ernie [Grunfeld], and we decided we gotta get this going,” Young said.

Despite missing training camp, Young kept in good shape.

“I’m good. I worked out. I didn’t want to come back looking like Shawn Kemp or Vin Baker,” he joked.

Feeling pressure from a few teammates to return, Young said Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee sent him pictures of his locker stall, with his nameplate still above it.

Also joining Wizards practice on Monday was veteran guard Mo Evans, who also signed a one-year deal to return to the Wizards. Evans, a vice president of the NBA players association seemed pleased to be talking about basketball, instead of lockouts and labor deals.

“It feels good to be back playing basketball period, especially back in D.C., where we has a lot of momentum to end the season,” Evans said.

“We just retained Nick [Young] today. He looked sharp today in practice. I think things are looking up for this organization.” Evans, who’s signing on Friday evening got lost during the team’s preseason preseason loss, admitted to a moment of trepidation upon seeing the team play so badly.

“For a minute, I thought, ‘Oh man, what have I gotten myself into,’ ‘” Evans said with a smile.

“But I’m committed to this organizations as a whole,” he said.

As a veteran player, Evans said he has nothing to prove on the court, and is pleased to be able to bring leadership and intangibles as a veteran presence in the Wizards locker room.

“It’s good to have Mo [Evans] back for his leadership,” Saunders said, echoing Evans words.

“And it’s good to have Nick [Young] back. He’s a cornerstone for what we’ve been trying to do, which is play winning basketball.”

• Carla Peay can be reached at cpeay@washingtontimes.com.

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