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Young has averaged a career best 17.5 points a game this season on 42 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. Clearly, his value now far exceeds the $1.2 million he’s slated to make next season, so he’s likely to decline it and explore free agency for a bigger, long-term deal.
The Lakers have their sights set on making big splashes this summer, though, and retaining Young at a higher rate doesn’t exactly guarantee marked improvement. Kobe Bryant is going to be back next season; a lot of the minutes and shots that Young is getting now will go to him. If the Lakers believe he can excel in a smaller role and keep him at a reasonable increase, they’ll extend the offer. If not, they’ll thank him for all his help during this tumultuous season, but let him go onto the next step in his career.
Not to take anything away from Young, but he’s really been put in a position to succeed this season in D’Antoni’s free-flowing offense and with the injury issues the Lakers have had in the backcourt. Because of that, the Lakers won’t go into the offseason feeling like they have to keep him at all costs.
Duncan’s injury occurred in the first quarter. It was a really scary moment for Spurs nation because their championship hopes would go out the window without Duncan. Even at his late stage of his career, he remains the centerpiece of just about everything they do and one of the best big men in the league. He returned in the game and went for 20 points and 15 rebounds, so clearly there’s nothing to be concerned about – although it did look bad at first.
Stokes was one of the best big men in the NCAA Tournament and is leaving while his stock is hot. He’s a little bit undersized for the power forward position, but is strong and a tenacious rebounder. His current projected stock is in the middle-to-late portion of the second round. With the way draft prospects have been denying declaration reports, we’re going to leave him off of our declared list until he truly makes it official at his press conference.