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Vlad Rad Is Now Destitute

March 1, 2007 |  5:08 pm

And by "destitute," I mean, "wealthier than 9 out of 10 people receiving five lifetimes to earn their ducats, but banking less than he could have." 

As noted earlier, the Lakers reached a final decision regarding "The Artist Slowly Turning Back into Vlad_rad Cat Stevens" (The requisite beard is about 3/4 full) and Snowboard-Gate.  Shoulder-impaired forward Vlad Radmanovic will pay a fine he described as "a lot of money," the actual dollar amount remaining undisclosed by the team (although from what I hear, it's about half a mil).  "I made a mistake and obviously there is a price for that mistake," nodded Radmanovic, who acknowledged it would have been the "legal right" of the Lakers to void his contract.  Vlad expressed gratitude for the decision to keep him around and has no plans to appeal a sentence he deemed "fair for what I did."  And having just watched former teammate Shaun Livingston come within  whispering distance of a forced retirement, Vlad feels even worse about the foolish risk he took  during the All-Star break.  "I did a bad thing for myself and my team.  I could have (ended) my career in Park City."  For that matter, the entire experience has been pretty sobering, especially his time spent under the microscope.  "It's tough.  It's not a nice feeling when people are looking at you a different way.  But that's part of life and there's no way back.  I have to find a way to put it behind me and learn from it." 

Now that Vlad's status for tomorrow's game against Sacto is officially "out... and poorer," we turn our attention to the stati (my invented plural of "status") of various other wounded Lakers.  Kobe Bryant had an MRI on his hyper-extended elbow and everything came back groovy.  He's also more or less recovered from Monday's horrific sore throat- His voice sounded better, for what it's worth- and he'll definitely be suited up.  Phil Jackson figures Andrew Bynum will also be ready for action, despite having missed the last two practices due to a flu bout.  Mo Evans, who also didn't practice today after having his knee drained, is considered "questionable".  Luke Walton, who did get on the court today for some run, was nonetheless listed as "doubtful."  And finally, there's Kwame Brown, who got tagged with "doubtful to questionable."

According to Kwame, that description apparently means "playing," because he talked like that was the plan.  Jackson was "feeling better" about Brown's chances of getting on the court (as opposed to Walton's), although the center still exhibited some question marks over timing and reaction during defensive situations.  All in all, however, he was encouraged by what he saw, a thumbs up that took Kwame a bit by surprise.  But even if Phil was in no way pleased, Kwame would like to make a run of it, given the team's current situation (and the simple realization that he may not reach a pain-free point this season, anyway).  He feels ready-ish for a return, but an added sense of urgency is definitely motivating him.  "We're in a tough situation.  Andrew's been sick all week, so I gotta step up and come in a little earlier."  He expects to come off the bench (which he agreed was the best call, despite the natural desire to start) and acknowledged he'll have to pace himself, maybe playing in 4-5 minute stretches.  And if the PT get too heavy, he's got a plan B.  "I'll maybe take a quick foul, get some rest," joked the 7-footer. 

Should Kwame end up getting some run, he's expecting rust galore.  "I'm out of sync a little bit.  They put in some new plays and new defensive stuff.  I wasn't around for that, so hopefully they can catch me up tomorrow.  I'm just trying to focus in on the stuff that I can do, not the stuff that I can't."  He also offered a warning.  "If you thought I couldn't catch before, wait until tomorrow."