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Atlantic Notes: Young, Datome, Chris Smith

Nets GM Billy King wants to keep Thaddeus Young beyond this season and make him a building block for the team, writes Mike Mazzeo of Young, who has a player option worth nearly $10.222MM for next season, is seeing fewer minutes per game since the trade to Brooklyn than in any season but his rookie year, but he’s nonetheless glad to be a part of the team’s plan for the future.

“It means a lot,” Young said. “It means that I’m definitely a player that has come into his own and being able to go out there and do a lot of things to help my team win basketball games. Sometimes I can go out there and be a game-changer with the energy I bring to the table.”

There’s more on the Nets amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics seem to want a long-term future with Jonas Jerebko, but while president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he likes Gigi Datome and that the Celtics aren’t looking to release or arrange a buyout with him, he also said that it’s unclear just how he fits with the team. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details. The Celtics executive is focused more on player evaluation than wins and losses even as his team sits just a game and a half back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Bulpett notes.
  • A season of prolific roster turnover has challenged Celtics coach Brad Stevens, but he’s shined amid the team’s many moves, navigating the club into contention for a playoff spot, as Chris Forsberg of examines.
  • Deron Williams believes all the trade rumors surrounding him and other high-profile Nets before the deadline affected the performance of the team, which has played better since February 19th passed, as Ohm Youngmisuk of observes.
  • KB Peja of Kosova has released ex-Knicks guard Chris Smith, notes Ian Begley of (via Twitter). The 27-year-old brother of J.R. Smith signed overseas last month but struggled to make an impact during his brief time playing in southeastern Europe.

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

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