Odds and ends
First, some good news contained in the reports Monday from the Sasha Vujacic Resigning Ceremony on Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers believe will be at 100% come Training Camp. Also at 100%? Hatred between Kobe and Shaq, at least in the eyes of Chuck Klosterman.
The best news, perhaps, is that the signing means more Machine vids, including this new one.
After the press conference Monday, I (and others) had a chance to ask a few questions of Sasha's agent, Rob Pelinka, and received some interesting responses. For those of you who are thinking about the biggest of Q's- Kobe's opt out- it's not on the radar yet. Pelinka said Kobe is "laser" focused on the Olympics right now, and the decision is still a ways away. Personally, I think he'll opt out, if only to get into a new deal a year earlier, but he won't go anywhere. Just my thoughts.
Also, if you get a chance, go back and listen to the audio from the press conference. Sasha talks about why he switched agents. "My (first choice) was always to stay in L.A., and (my former agent) didn't have the same vision, so I had to switch," he said. "We just had different ways. We didn't have the same language." It's always encouraging when players take control of their situation, and fans should be encouraged by how much Vujacic wanted to to stay with the Lakers. Everyone's a winner, here.
Q: Sasha had an offer to go, Josh Childress took a big one- How viable an option do you see Europe as being right now for players? Especially frontline guys?
Pelinka: It'll be interesting to monitor, but the game is becoming more and more of a global game. I think that's opening up doors that three or four years ago weren't there. As the game advances and continues to advance in Europe and Asia, we're going to see more and more opportunities like that.
Q: Was Sasha offered more to play over there?
Pelinka: He was. You have to look at the taxes, which are entirely different, but the opportunity over there was a lucrative deal. His heart, though, was to play for the Lakers and try to win titles here.
Q: It seems like the system makes it hard for teams to move on
restricted free agents, and therefore hard on the player. Is this
something the NBA needs to fix?
Pelinka: It would be great if when guys were done with their contracts they were true free agents, and then you could just see what the market will pay them, but the system is one where true free agency is very rare, and often doesn't exist. There is a built in system, and I think that's why all of us are looking for ways to explore what true fair market value is.
Q: Would it help to take that time a team can match on an RFA's offer sheet down from a week to three or four days?
Pelinka: There's many things you could do to try to change the system. One would be to adjust the salary cap so that more teams have cap room. Right now, the only team that has cap room right now is Memphis. So there aren't a lot of options.
Q: Does everyone feel happy about this deal at the end of the day?
Pelinka: Extremely. Sasha's ecstatic. He felt like he accomplished his two priorities, one which was staying here and two was arriving at something that was fair for everyone. We feel like it was a fair deal economically, and it's a three year deal so he has the chance in three years to do this again, and he'll still be a young player. For the Lakers, just having the flexibility to see how things goes over the next three years, and revisiting their cap and tax situations instead of being locked into something longer term (is beneficial).