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Lakers season wrap: Chris Duhon wasn't expected to play

May 07, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers reserve point guard Chris Duhon played key minutes in relief of injured teammates this season.
Lakers reserve point guard Chris Duhon played key minutes in relief of injured… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Chris Duhon was a throw-in when the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic last summer.

With Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Darius Morris on the roster, Duhon wasn't projected to be a regular-rotation player, but injuries to Nash and Blake early in the season thrust him into a vital role until they returned.

In nine starts, Duhon averaged a strong 45.8% from the field with 5.4 assists in 31.6 minutes. His best game was in a loss to the Utah Jazz in which he had 12 points and 11 assists.

On the year, he averaged 2.9 points a game over 46 games. Duhon shot just 38.2% from the field, showing he was clearly much more efficient as a starter.

Coach Mike D'Antoni preferred Morris when the team needed more of a defensive presence. Duhon was the choice if the Lakers needed to run a more organized offense, but his defense was far from impressive.

Duhon is going into the final year of his deal at $3.75 million. Only $1.5 million is guaranteed, which suggests Duhon's stint with the Lakers will be a short one.

Cutting him could save the Lakers approximately $9.6 million in luxury taxes (depending on how high the team's payroll ends up next season and where the league sets the tax threshold).

Duhon could also be used as a trade piece, assuming the Lakers are willing to take on salary in return.  Or, the team may just cut him loose for the tax savings.

ALSO:

Lakers' week in review

Lakers season wrap: Earl Clark a welcome surprise

Lakers season wrap: Jodie Meeks gave effort, but not always results

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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