Nick Young

Lakers’ Nick Young going to test free agent waters

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From the minute Nick Young signed his contract with the Lakers he intended to opt out of the second year.

Young is making $1.1 million this season and can choose to stay with the Lakers at $1.2 million or become a free agent. The latter was always the most likely, and that’s before Swaggy P (as he calls himself) averaged 17.3 points a game off the Lakers bench and has shot 37.5 percent form three. He has a PER right at the league average of 15.1 but he’s making millions less than a league average salary.

He wouldn’t be definitive, but when Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com talked to Young he all but said he was going to get paid next season, by the Lakers or somebody. Does he see himself as a $1.2 million player?

“Oh, no,” Young said. “Not at all. Most definitely. I deserve much more than that.”

And Swaggy P wants to have a lot of teams chasing him. “Yeah,” Young/P said. “He most definitely does. And I believe a lot will. That’s a solid answer right there.”

Young has shown he can light it up off the bench, which he did for a Lakers team racked by injuries. He had to take on more offense and he ended not only scoring more than he has before in his career (he was at this level in points per game one year in Washington) but more efficiently than ever before as well.

Young has earned a raise. He’s going to get one, the question now is where. The L.A. native would like to stay with the Lakers but with that team’s uncertain future it’s not a given. And like every player, while he says it’s about winning and all that, we know it’s about the money.

“Most definitely I want to stay home,” Young said. “With the changes I see, they’re going to do some big things this summer. Of course I want to be a part of a championship program and get a chance to compete next year. But we’re just going to see what happens. I’ve got to sit down with my agent and see what happens this summer.”

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.