- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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2013-14 salary: $1,550,000 | Age: 26 | Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 1.4 stl.
Season recap: Meeks has the dubious distinction of being the best player on quite possibly the worst team in Lakers franchise history. Not only was he the MVP, but he was also the Lakers most improved player from a season ago. The fifth-year guard averaged career highs across the board and shot an impressive 46.3 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from downtown. He also showed development in his defense, consistently making multiple efforts on each possession. His most dramatic growth might have been finishing at the rim, shooting 58.9 percent compared to just 46.3 percent a year ago.
Season highlight: Meeks had his best game in the Lakers’ biggest win of the season, dropping a career-high 42 points on 11-for-18 shooting, including a 6-for-11 mark from downtown and 14-for-14 from the line when L.A. beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-110.
Season lowlight: In a three game stretch from Dec. 13-16, Meeks shot a combined 5-for-28 from the field and failed to top the 10-point plateau in all three games, accounting for three of the 10 times he didn’t hit for double-digit scoring.
Final grade: A-
Notes: Meeks had 19 games of 20 points or more, including hitting for 30 once and the aforementioned 40-spot. He was also the most consistent Laker in terms of health, appearing in 77 of L.A.’s 82 games.
Quotable: “I want to come back. We’ll have to see how the draft goes and free agency goes. I love playing here. It’s a packed house. I’ve been on teams where there’s 2,000 people in the stands and that’s not fun.” -- Meeks said after his exit interview.
What's next?: With $48.5 million already invested in Kobe Bryant, and thus the shooting guard position, over the next two seasons, the question is how much more money will the Lakers be looking to put into that position? It seems unlikely that both Meeks and Nick Young will be brought back and since Young is more of fan favorite (and box office draw), plus can play multiple positions, he would seem to have a better chance. Add in the fact that Meeks, as a former second-round pick, has not made major money in his career thus far and it will not be surprising to see Meeks choose a more lucrative offer rather than stay in L.A. for a hometown discount.