Radmanovic for Brown and Morrison- Quick thoughts
Hey y'all. Just got home to see the news that the Lakers have pulled off another Gasol-esque blockbuster! Okay, maybe not, but today's trade that sent Vladimir Radmanovic to Charlotte for Adam Morrison (still lovingly referred to by my wife as "Wah-Wah Baby") and Shannon Brown could be one of those stealth moves that benefit the Lakers down the road.
A few thoughts:
- This trade has very little to do with personnel, and virtually everything to do with the re-allocation of financial resources. Vlad Rad is making about $6 mil this season, $6.5 in the next next, and has a player option- fair bet he'll exercise it- for nearly $7 million in 2010-2011. Brown is an expiring contract at a hair under $800K, and Morrison makes $4.15 million this year, 5.25 next season. So there's a couple mil in savings this year and next, but the big prize is that the Lakers can now spend the money slotted for Radmanovic's option year on a player they'd actually like to have. Trevor Ariza, for example. Remember, because the Lakers are and will remain over the luxury tax threshold, every dollar they spend above it becomes two, magnifying the importance of giving it to the right players. In real dollars, we're talking, what, about $13 or $14 million that can be spent somewhere else? Not bad.
- Morrison also becomes a potentially useful expiring deal the Lakers can flip next season, should the opportunity arise.
- Vlad's time as an important, contributing member of the rotation was clearly over. He wasn't going to get much playing time for Phil Jackson, and that being the case it was better to find him a new home. To his credit, Radmanovic didn't make a stink in the media about his PT, but it's clear he wasn't happy with a situation that seemed unlikely to change much. Psychologically, it's a good move for all involved.
- On the court, barring injury don't expect either of the new guys to make much of an impact. Of the two, I think Brown is more likely to play spot minutes down the road, if only because he's far stronger, more athletic and is a better defender. (For those who think Luke Walton can't defend, wait until you get a look at Morrison!) On the other hand, he's not a true point guard, and doesn't shoot the ball particularly well as a two. There's a chance a system like the triangle could benefit Morrison down the road, taking advantage of those things he (theoretically) does well while masking some of his athletic deficiencies. Maybe.
- That said, in practical terms, when it comes to this year's rotation, the trade's greatest impact will be seen in garbage time.
For what it's worth, the guy with the best NBA pedigree is headed for Charlotte, but before complaining that Mitch didn't get "equal value," remember a) pedigree is relative, and b) Vlad's contract was a major poison pill. To get out from the mistake without having to take on equally bad long-term salary makes the deal a net positive, especially since the practical, on court impact is small. Could there be moments where Vlad's long-range shooting would come in handy? Sure... but the Lakers showed they were just fine with Radmanovic tethered to the bench as well.
Fans looking for Impact! are going to be disappointed, until the off-season comes and the Lakers have more flexibility to negotiate with Ariza and Lamar Odom, or anyone else that strikes their fancy. In the salary cap/luxury tax era, solid planning can pay huge dividends down the road.
Here's PJ's reaction on the deal, from Lakers.com: