Lakers Trade Vladimir Radmanovic

Kurt —  February 7, 2009

Indiana Hoosiers v Gonzaga Bulldogs
In a move that is a salary dump, the Lakers have moved Vladimir Radmanovic to Charlotte. Here is the official announcement:

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Adam Morrison and guard Shannon Brown from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Vladimir Radmanovic, it was announced today.

Morrison, currently in his 3rd NBA season out of Gonzaga, was selected third overall by the Bobcats in the 2006 NBA Draft after earning unanimous First Team All-America honors and garnering multiple National Player of the Year awards his senior year. Named to the All-Rookie Second Team following the 2006-07 season, Morrison appeared in 78 games as rookie including 23 starts, averaging 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 29.8 minutes while earning T-Mobile Rookie of the Month honors for November 2006.

Missing the entire 2007-08 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in an October 20 preseason game against the Lakers, Morrison has played in 44 games this season including five starts, averaging 4.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 15.2 minutes with a high-game of 16 points November 11 vs. Denver.

Morrison is due the remainder of $4,159,200 this year and then $5,257,228 for next season. After that, the Lakers would have to pick up his option, something that is unlikely with Bynum’s new deal, plus potential deals for Ariza and Odom to be signed this offseason. Little used guard Brown has a one year deal for less than $800,000.

Radmanovic was due $6.5 million this year and next, and with the player option his deal went one year longer. Because the Lakers are in the luxury tax, this will save the team about $13 million.
This will not impact the Lakers on the floor, except during garbage time. Radmanovic could not crack the Lakers rotation, and he is an infinitely better player than Morrison. So far this season Morrison has a true shooting percentage of 45.2% (Radman is 60.4%), is shooting 33.7% from three (44.1%) and has a PER of 6 (11.8). Plus, at least by reputation, he is a considerably worse defender than Radmanovic.

As for Brown, well, if he couldn’t get off the bench behind Felton….

UPDATE: The official comments from Mitch:

“As the season wore on, it looked like Phil (Jackson) had settled into starting Luke (Walton) and bringing Trevor (Ariza) off the bench, and we are very pleased with both players. Vladi (Radmanovic) started the season (at small forward) and I thought he played well, but here it is early February and it looked like he wasn’t going to play much. You can tell by just watching and talking to Vladi that he did want to play, and he didn’t come here just to sit on the bench and collect a paycheck. So, part of the decision was to accommodate a player that wanted to play.

From our point of view we feel we pick up two players that are still young developing players (is valuable). As you know, Adam (Morrison) was their No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft and had an ACL injury against us last year. That injury takes more than a year (to recover from), so we think he would benefit from a situation that has less pressure, and our staff here in terms of our people downstairs medically and just a stable environment where he could progress and get back to where he was in college. Shannon Brown is a developing player as well – you may recall that he played really well against us in L.A. last week. So we picked up two players that have upside. If there was a third reason, we picked up some flexibility down the road with a shortened commitment versus Vladi’s (financial) commitment.”

# When asked if the Lakers were done on the trade front before the February 19 deadline, Kupchak responded in turn: “I wouldn’t say that I’m making a lot of calls. We have the best record in the league right now, we just had a great road trip and hopefully we can end it really strong tomorrow. The news on Andrew (Bynum) was not good, but it looks like he’ll have a better chance to return this year than he did last year, so I’m not sure we want to address anything more than continuing to win as many games as possible and hope to get Andrew back.
# More pointedly: “I don’t think there’s a deal out there that can make this a better team than the one we have or the one we potentially have.”