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Lakers, Celtics, Pistons Eye DeMarre Carroll

The Lakers have major interest in soon-to-be free agent DeMarre Carroll, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, who adds the Celtics and the Pistons to the list of teams interested in the vastly improved small forward. Carroll went down with a left knee injury Wednesday during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but an MRI revealed only a sprain, the team announced via press release, listing him as questionable for Game 2.

An executive who spoke recently with Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops estimated Carroll’s next annual salary will be around $8-9MM, a giant leap from his pay of little more than $2.442MM this season. The Hawks would like to re-sign Carroll, Deveney writes, but they only have Early Bird rights on him, meaning they’d have to use cap space to give him a starting salary of any more than about $6MM. Atlanta has the cap flexibility to pay him $8-9MM next year, as do the Lakers, Celtics and Pistons, but the Hawks won’t have the chance to give him a five-year contract or 7.5% raises as they could with full Bird rights, which would have given Atlanta a leg up on other teams.

Carroll, when prompted last month, said he’d be interested in the Knicks, though more recently he made it clear that he places a high value on player development, a strength of the Hawks franchise. The former 27th overall pick bounced around to four teams in his first four NBA seasons before becoming a standout three-point shooter with the Hawks. He nailed 39.5% of his attempts from behind the arc this season, a career high.

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