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Shannon Brown slam dunk to be a free agent

Yea, doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?

Still, high-flying Shannon Brown -- well, except during the dunk contest -- is expected to join this summer’s free agent class.

Brown has a player option to stay with the Lakers for $2.1 million next season (second year of a bi-annual exception deal). Brown and his agent will not talk contracts, but the Lakers front office expects him to turn down that option thinking he can make more on the open market.

And he can.

Brown is about as athletic a guard as there is in the league, and there’s no doubt he can run the floor and finish on the break. Just ask YouTube. But he also has a solid outside shot (he’s hit 43 percent of his looks from 16 to 23 feet this season), has pretty good handles and plays solid defense. His decision making as a lead guard within the Lakers triangle offense is holding his minutes back right now, but in a less structured system he might flourish.

Plus, Brown is the kind of player the team marketing guys can sell.

However, he says he loves LA. The Lakers have his “Early Bird” rights and can offer him up to the mid-level exception (likely about $5.8 million, same as this year). He’s not likely to get that much, but he should get more than the $2.1 he is owed, and he can get a longer deal that would keep his salary steady heading into the new CBA in a couple years.

Just another high-flying name to watch this summer.