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Laker coaches, Vujacic at odds

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and his assistants aren't happy with Sasha Vujacic, and because of that, the reserve guard hasn't been playing.

Jackson still wasn't happy with Vujacic Wednesday night after the guard had a "run-in with our coaching staff" last Friday night in Oklahoma City, Jackson said.

In that game, Vujacic was upset with Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons giving him instructions and told Cleamons not to yell at him. When assistant coach Brian Shaw went over to Vujacic, the Laker guard told Shaw the same thing. Shaw and Vujacic then exchanged words on the bench during the Lakers' loss to the Thunder.

Vujacic didn't play in the next two games at Houston and New Orleans.

Jackson said Vujacic "hasn't atoned himself for that error." When Vujacic does, "he'll be back in good graces," Jackson said.

Vujacic said he knows that he is out of the rotation.

"If they are winning, I'm not playing," Vujacic said before the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. "If they are losing and the team is down by 20 points, then I get a few minutes."

-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Atlanta

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"If they are winning, I'm not playing," Vujacic said

And why do you think that is, Sasha? Know your role

You're fortunate you're even on the team Sasha. You only had one decent season coming off the bench. You can't shoot the ball anymore so what do you expect. Make some shots and play some "D". And quit crying!

LAKERMIKE… “Here's the most ironic thing (leaving my surprise for last). Perhaps the player Pau is most suited to play with and best complimented by is a center who is bigger than him, stronger than him, and plays closer to the rim. Look for Pau to BENEFIT from Andrew's return.”
Excellent analysis, Mike, although obviously no surprise to me. I have always maintained that the arguments from the Pro-Pau contingent that the Lakers play better with Pau at center than with Andrew at center were missing the point, which is that the Lakers play better with Drew at Center and Pau at power forward.
The key is that the NBA is all about the matchups. Drew playing center enables Pau to guard and be guarded by a less physical player than when he plays center with Drew on the bench. Since Drew represents a greater low post threat, he will draw more double teams in the post than Pau thus freeing Pau to cut or crash the boards.
MM… Excellent discussion of the impact on the Lakers of Andrew Bynum being out with an Achilles injury. What jumps out at me when I watch the games are three things: First, the Lakers interior defense has suffered greatly with Drew out. Other teams just do not fear penetrating the lane when Pau and Lamar are playing whereas Drew had been challenging, altering, or hard fouling every opponent who attacked the basket.
Second, with Drew out and Pau playing center, he is now defending and being defended by the opposing center, who in almost every case is a more physical and power oriented player than the player who Pau would be facing as a power forward. This makes a dramatic difference in how Pau plays at both ends. Offensively, you can see that as a result of playing center, Pau actually is shooting more outside shots and having difficulty finishing around the rim, resulting often in weak weenie shots being tossed up and shooting percentages falling.
Third, which you covered, is the trickledown effect that Drew being out has on the bench, with Lamar moving into the starting lineup, which puts increased pressure on Jordan and Shannon especially to step up, especially with the problems that Fish is having at the point. Giving DJ and Josh critical minutes just decreases the plus impact that the bench has. They not only miss Lamar’s points, boards, and assists but also his leadership.

Time to get RID of this guy

"If they are winning, I'm not playing," Vujacic said before the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night. "If they are losing and the team is down by 20 points, then I get a few minutes."

It's interesting that he says, "they" and not "we're" when talking about his team.

Didn't Sasha get cut from his national team? Does he not realize what that was about? He got cut from a team with only a few guys on it who would make an NBA roster.

He got cut from a team that might jump at the chance of signing Kwame Brown or Smush Parker. Who does he think he is?

He needs to be thinking about doing whatever the coach says and hope to get playing time.


Fish smoking hot again tonight ! Let's keep him around...he might hit a big shot in the playoffs !! Has anybody noticed his shots are not even coming close. The one shot he hit, the layup wasn't even close but somehow rolled in. Scary !!!

Amazing !!! the " Stubborn Master" has finally yanked Fisher early !!!

Thx for the kind words.. Normally I'm not a glass full kind of dude but I mustve been in a damn good mood when I wrote that. :-)

I don't mind adding a game to those projections... I know I was being quite the optimist but LELOSER never lost a game when he's favored??!! Boo freakin hooo. We talkin bout the east!! Give the man a bone!!!.. Last year he breezed through the playoffs against cupcakes opponent (like every year past) but when the s**t hit the fan finally against a formidable opponent he almost got swept.. Or shouldve been if not for a lucky offbalance 3pt prayer.

Sasha.. I knew it! this is the last straw!

He's one and done! One being 2008 season and only productive season of his career... Since then he's gone completely hollywood on us and has grown an ego bigger than aretha franklin!

He's officially slovanian gar-baj.

Put me on Kobe's bandwagon of lollagagging. I too am worried.

If we don't change, we'll have a long summer. Make the change CRUE.

Colorado still loves our World Champion Lakers!

what's not so hard to understand is that Fish plays because his backups are not reliable.
Farmar is just half of a decent player. Shannon is not a PG. Vujacic'll never play again.

It looks like our beloved Bean Bryant has lost a step on the defensive side. He's as good as ever on the offense, but his age and miles are beginning to show on his effectiveness on defense.
With Bynum out, teams with good Big bigs are a mighty problem: Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Portland.
Lakers defense statistics look good compared to previous years but its obvious to the eye that Lakers have a problem defending the top teams. Losing Rambis but not hiring a replacement, a coach dedicated solely to defense, to save money might end up costing the Lakers the repeat.

Does this team have any pride ????? Where is the effort? execution ?
If this is really a championship team it is sad year for the NBA !!!


Why don't you all ever give credit to the team beating the Lakers than emphasize the deficiencies the Lakers have?

It's not about filling the void of a Laker deficiency with a player.

It's about how a team copes with that deficiency.

hey dfish, that's been my theme too.....does this team have any pride? what's their excuse for losing tonight? sasha didn't play? not seeing the game, it looks like L.A. can't stop anyone from scoring. omg, laker castoff, maurice evans 18 pts, just way too embarassing. can it get any worse?

The Lakers are definitely looking at a very bleak PO picture.

1) Even if Bynum comes back, will he be back to his pre-injury condition and contribution for the PO?

2) Just how seriously hurt is Odom's shoulder? If it lingers into the PO, that will be HUGE problem for Lakers' offense.

3) As expected, Fish is fading fast on his swan song. No I don't think he'll suddenly revive for the PO. This time he's down for the count. Thanks for the memory Fish, may your ride into the sunset be pleasant.

4) Not exactly a fearsome bench to start with, now LA has even less what with Sasha officially in the dog house until who-knows-when. So basically the Lakers are trying to win a championship with a bench consisted of two young fringe players barely belong to the NBA, Farmar and Brown?

No matter how much you try to sugar coat it and hide your heads in the sand, t is looking very, very BLEAK folks.

here's something interesting to ponder.......why is sasha the only one being YELLED at? i mean, let's face it, he's hardly been on the court lately. why aren't the coaches YELLING at the players who are playing the majority of the minutes, WHO aren't doing what the coaches want them to do? why make a big deal of a sub, who's pretty much has had no impact on this team, this year?????

did you guys watched the games between Lakers and Thunders when the incident happened? Vujacic was fielded in during the last qtr and lasted only 3 mins, he made 1 rebound, made 2 good inside pass which his teammates were not able to make and played decent defense. I did not see any mistakes he did, our team was behind more than 30 pts that time and prior to that Fisher, Farmar,Brown etc made awful basketball that led to that 30+ pt margin. The coaching staff were frustrated that game and they cannot blame anyone else except for the guy who just entered the game the last qtr and lasted 3 mins. Among the guards that we have ( Fisher, Brown,Farmar & Sasha ) , Sasha is the one who can play decent defense, he is moving the ball well too looking for open teammates, he hustles and that enable other teammates to do the same. Yes, his not shooting well, who does in our team right now? The reason we are losing is that we shoot very very poorly even in this game against the Hawks. We do not have other player who could rely on right now and the coaching staff should realize that the Farmar and Brown tandem is not really working. Give some guys on the bench some minutes, they are tired of drinking Gatorade. Perhaps Clemons and Shaw as well as Jackson should try one....

"If they are winning, I'm not playing," Vujacic said before the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night. "If they are losing and the team is down by 20 points, then I get a few minutes."

What he's saying is detrimental to the team. With this type of attitude, I don't think he will be playing for a while. It seems that he still doesn't think that he did anything wrong.

With the loss to Atlanta tonight, I'm concerned. We're simply not a good to team right now. The Lakers showed that they played with effort tonight, but couldn't compete with the Hawks.

This just sucks, seems like no one has a pulse except for ron and kobe

We might have hoped for a long time that he will mature and reach potential at some point but I don't think that will ever happen. Let's face it folks, after all these years Sasha still is as clueless and has as much basketball savvy as another recent (in)famous Laker guard, Smush Parker.

Too bad.

kenny smith said tonight on nba tv, "the laker's bench will be their downfall". again, our bench got outscored 48 - 24. but that figure could be a little misleading. the lakers bench was on the court for 58 minutes total, compare to that of 92 minutes for atlanta's subs. so since the laker starters are in for the majority of the game, they have to be responsible for scoring more, plus playing better defense. it's not all of the bench's fault! the bench was only 7 - 17 from the floor. take away farmar's 5 - 9 fga......and it's not pretty.

its like we have not practiced in weeks


It seems pretty clear to me that PJ is giving Jordan and Shannon all the minutes so that PJ can determine whether one or both of these guys is worth having back next year. DFish's contract is up at the end of the year and Jordy and Shannon will want $$$$ to resign. Sasha is signed through next year.

We are now seeing why Shannon has been with several teams in only 4 years. He has raw talent and potential, but is lost in the triangle. Jordan has talent, but is too undersized to stop anyone on defense.

Can anyone blame Sasha for seeing his minutes drop to zilch and having to watch Phil's "experiment" fail each night, when Shannon and Jordan are put into the game together, only to see a lead at the end of the 1st quarter become a deficit? Before the Ammo trade, Sasha would come in, make the defense space itself out, and Kobe could always find him for an open shot. Sasha's very presence required the defense to move up so the Lakers' inside game could flourish.

But Sasha was hurt at the beginning of last year and PJ decided to drop his minutes in favor of Ariza (which was well justified). Winning the title was the goal and although Sasha didn't make a shot in the Finals, he never complained.

The Lakers have way too many injuries now and its shows. The formula to beat them is simple: 1) dribble penetration, 2) rough up Pau and Bynum, 3) double Kobe. The result: Shannon, Jordan and Ron shoot 3's all night because they choose to stay out of the key and get physical.

Say what you want, but Sasha deserves more minutes. His D is superior to Fish, Shannon and Jordan and he now "passes first, shoots second" instead of the other way around.

Can anybody make a good argument why Fish, Shannon and Jordan deserve more minutes? C'mon, Sasha getting yelled at after playing 2 minutes vs. OKC when the team is down by 30!

There are too many behind the scene goings on right now with the team. Only 5 players are signed for next year and the team looks either old, or injured.

yellofever - so we agree that Lebron's teams, unlike Kobe's, tend to breeze through the playoffs against inferior opponents.

So how does Lebron do in really tough series?

Against Detroit in '06 (defending East champs): Came back from an 0-2 deficit by winning 3 straight close games, with Lebron dominating down the stretch in all three. Detroit wins game 6 when Cleveland fails to get a defensive rebound 3 straight times in the final minute, and closes it out at home in game 7. This was a Cleveland team that had the worst guard combination in the league and was missing Larry Hughes for most of the series. Lebron averaged 31-8-6 in this postseason and averaged 46.5 minutes/game, going at least 47 in the final 6 games.

Against Detroit in '07: Again coming back from an 0-2 deficit, this time Lebron dominates game 5 by scoring the final 25 points, including go-ahead and tying dunks in the final 30 seconds of regulation and the game-winning layup with 4 guys on him. However, they get swept by San Antonio in the finals. Cleveland again had the worst guard combo in the league, and backup 6' tall shooting guard Boobie Gibson was often the 2nd best Cav. Lebron averaged 25-8-8 in this postseason.

Against Boston in '08: Loses a tight series in which the home team wins every game. Scores 102 points in the final 3 games, including a 45-5-6 in game 7. Only a career game by Paul Pierce keeps the Cavs from advancing. Lebron averaged 28-8-8 in this postseason.

Against Orlando in '09: Loses to Orlando in 6 games despite averaging an incredible 39-8-8 in the series. Z is too skinny to d Dwight Howard, Varejao gets burned outside constantly by Lewis, and the Cavs' 6'1" and 6'2" starting guards don't have a chance against 6'10" Turkoglu. Orlando sets the record for most 3-pointers made in a 6-game series. Despite all that, Lebron hits a game-winning three in game 2 and rims one out from halfcourt in game 4 (just 6 seconds after having hit one to bring the Cavs within 1), and set up a wide-open three missed by Delonte West in game 1 would have kept it a home-home series and given the Cavs a home game 7 for the series win. Lebron averaged 35-9-7 in this postseason.

So remind me where Lebron got his reputation as a postseason choker?

Oh, and yellofever - hasn't the East and Phoenix taken out the Lakers in 4 of their last 5 postseasons? You make fun of both of them, so it's funny to note how often the Lakers struggle against them. Lebron looked much better than Kobe against the Detroit and Boston teams that the Lakers lost to, despite having much less in the way of a team (and a coach) for those games.

cbad, i'm in total agreement with you. it's time for the laker's brass to stop with their punishment of sasha AND LET HIM PLAY! yes, his shot has been off this year, but he plays a pesky defense that drives his opponents nuts. the injury has been a setback for him..... he was trying to work his way back into getting some of those important p.t. minutes. phil likes "big guards", so, to you laker coaches, stop making sasha your personal whipping boy. outside of kobe, vujacic is the laker's defensive guard on the team. if you don't get him into the rotation soon AND into shape.....we'll have more of the same, brown and farmar getting killed by every opponents guards!

Hey,Cbad721, I think we have the same observation, Sasha is not the type of shooter that we really want. He is not the type A caliber and we know that, but in our roster right now who is consistent and reliable shooter besides Kobe? None! Fisher is a decent shooter in the past but he is struggling too. Sasha on his part though he cannot shoot the 3 just what we wanted but plays great defense and better than the farmar,brown and fish combined. Recently he is showing excellent ball movement and passing skills which the triangle operates, he drives to the basket too ( most fans I think do not observe this coz most of us are enamored with Brown spectacular dunks which only result to 2 pts. and the same score you can give with and easy lay up) and he hustles more than the 3 mentioned above. They can junk him next season if they want but for now use him because he is more proven than farmar and brown coming to the playoffs. I think the Lakers really missed Kurt Rambis's presence and tact to reach out to players and deal with some issues.

appolo _ I'm with you on this one. Sasha's been a scapegoat for years on the bench. I'm not saying he doesn't ever deserve it but I'm a bit puzzled when a guy that averages 8 minutes a game gets the lion's share of abuse. Right now, the coaches got bigger fish to fry than the fact that Vujacic finally talked back to them. And, rather than wait for proper "atonement for his errors", maybe they should throw him out there and see if he can put the ball in the basket. It seems to be a skill set that's rapidly slipping away from the rest of the squad.

I'd be with the Vujacic apologists if he'd done anything with the time he'd been given since he signed his extension after his only productive season with LA. And he hasn't been able to hit shots, stay out of foul trouble, or otherwise play a meaningful role off the bench. I don't know the reasons, but that's the truth. Why should he get meaningful time if he's not even using the time he gets productively? He's one of the main reasons LA is where it is right now. Were it not for Ariza's breakout season last year, Sasha would have gotten filleted 15 months ago.

The coaching staff should be YELLING at Lamar, Thriller, Pau and Fish. Theses are your main players without a HEART, no GUTS AND NO PASSION, Not Sasha!! Dfish is circling the drain fast, he is done.

So I'll repeat my question. Why are the coaches letting Brown and Farmar play extensive minutes this year when it is crystal clear that they make too many mistakes and play no D at all?

Sasha played great D against Ray Allen before he hurt his shoulder. His offense was scrappy, but contagious. Sasha shut down Manu for 5 minutes after he TORCHED everyone else who tried to guard him. Sasha's minutes have been given to Brown and PJ seems committed to going down in flames this year if Brown and Farmar can't rise to the occasion in the playoffs. This only puts pressure on everyone else to become scorers and shot blockers, which leads to poor defense. It will be interesting to see how PJ uses the bench if the Magic can get home court advantage.

Kinda makes you appreciate just how difficult winning back-to-back-to-back titles was.

Zen Master for Lakers "cluster". Disgusting ,when his coaching is awful and he is losing control on the team ,always blame somebody who is not even playing .Shame on you PJ !! And all this for $12 mil!!! Very cheap

last 21 games we are 11-10?!?! kobe is tired, i have my grips w/ him but he SHOWSUP every nite. cant say that about ANYONE else on this team. we are top heavy, and we are paying for is broke, jordan is selfish shannon is a reserve, hasnt been rite since the dunk contest, pau is soft a baby poo! bynum needs to get gone so we can improve going forward. to me we are still the champs, but only till may, we wont see junem i havent given up just reality setting in, if not for the 17 earlyseason home games we would be amiddle of the rd, team. bottom line, my ideas for improvement even tho. it is early... trade bynum, artest get a pg, shooter and a imtimitor and lets get more rings. I love my Lakers, but i feel like they have reached their all conposed like this.

He hasn't been Sasha since the beat down at Bean Town. The past 2 years he's been more enamored with himself than basketball. Anyone with an ounce of integrity would be in the gym 24/7 (game or no game) getting his head on straight.

If he didn't have such an enormous contract value left, the Lakers would've released him.

Frankly, for the past 2 years I've been calling him "Snausage Im-Ur-Biatch" since opponents start salivating whenever he takes the floor so that they can light up his so-called D and laugh at his air balls. Someone needs to advise him that Air Guitar is funny, but Air Balls are pathetic!

I can't wait for next years trade deadline to get rid of his sorry %$@!%%!!!


I agree with you Cbad721 . Why must we go down in flames with Farmar and Brown. I'm tired of watching those two clowns get torched. I wonder what Kobe has to say about all this. Isn't Sasha one of the guys he's close with?

You're living in the past about Sasha. He was pesky and accurate. Then he signed his big contract and disappeared. The coaching staff sees him a lot more than we do.

If you remember, prior to the 2007-2008 season, the coaching staff and his teammates were all on his side. When the media was on his case for having bad games, Kobe, Phil and B. Shaw would tell everyone how he shot the lights out at practices and that his D was carrying him. It looked like he finally turned the corner and became an NBA shooter and defender in 2007-2008.

Now, no one (including Kobe) is saying that his shot's dropping in practice. His D is no longer solid. He's completely disappeared, except for whining like Danny Ainge whenever he gets called for a foul. Everyone, including the refs, soon got tired of his whining.

He used to be disruptive on D, now he's just plain disruptive to the team. With the state of his game currently, he should be humble. He should be a gym rat and work to prove himself again.

How can anyone say that Sasha is the reason why our team is now in this predicament when most of the time all season long this poor guy is sitting on the bench? Stay on course my friend, we are in this hole because we cannot play good defense, we cannot make open shots, we play like the WNBA ( I think they play better ball than us right now) no passion, no urgency... do not blame the guy when he is sitting on the bench ( drinking gatorade) when he wants and ready to play, and we know he can contribute at least on defense....he is not the savior of this team either, we could trade him if that will satisfy us but for now he can be useful for this team...the very reason why Phil Jackson in all his wisdom now let this issue to be known because he is communicating to this poor guy Sasha that he needs him for this depleting guard rotation, that is his way to communicate to his player he normally use media to send his message.

Cbad721: Shannon Brown's contract is not up this summer, he's signed thru 2011. Phil and Mitch's only decision will be whether Fisher and Farmar are back.

I wouldn't doubt that Kurt Rambis' coaching position is being held for Fisher next year. That is, if Phil and company return.

The way this team has failed to answer the wake up call time and time again the second half of the regular season, it wouldn't shock me to see Phil retire.

Sasha will end up being trade fodder next season with his expiring contract.

Why is Sasha's leash so mush shorter than the other bench players though? I've seen Farmar yell back at Phil plenty of times. Why is that when Sasha does it, it depletes what's left of his minutes instantly. The real problem with the team however is the fact that we have Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom, and Artest yet the bench is blamed for losses. Our starters need to show up.


Free Sasha.

Great posts everybody. I can only hope that Phil's read of this year's team is that they need to sink to the bottom so they can now start to rise before the playoffs begin. I'm not alone, however, in my opinion that his rotations are not working and if it is broke, it should be fixed - unless keeping it broken is part of the bigger scheme.

By next week, after another homestand, the ship may right itself. At least we're not Clipper fans . ..

The starters aren't getting outscored by 20-30 points a game lately, it's the bench.

As far as Sasha's versus Jordan's backtalk, Jordan calms down and then starts talking civilly. Whereas, Sasha loses it and he let's his anger snowball. He's done it to his teammates besides the coaching staff. And it's not just recently.

I remember a game early in the season when he was getting more playing time. He got called for a foul that of course he never commits. He then got called for a technical. Lamar went to talk with him and tried to pull him away before getting another. Sasha flailed his arm to shed Lamar and walked away. He then went to the end of the bench and wouldn't speak with any of his teammaters. He's basically a 6'7" kid that pouts and throws a tantrum if he doesn't get his way.

The coaching staff is looking for him to start acting like a man and taking responsibility for his own actions. Until he does, he's in permanent "Timeout".

Poor Sasha...hasn't quite gotten over the Ray Allen (2008 Finals 4th game) undressing. He's really sensitive these Laker coaches please don't yell at him.

MarcB, Our bench consists of Farmar and Brown right now. Everybody else is a non-scorer or gets a DNP. I wouldn't expect them to score much. I understand Sasha is a tool towards the refs, but it's that same attitude that makes him an annoying defender. Kobe, Bynum, and Sasha all complain to the refs too often. They need to be more selective because I'll be the refs have just tuned them out.

The Laker bench is only decent when Lamar is on the floor with them...until then it will continue to suck. The machine needs to be scrapped for a working version.

Sasha has not earned the right to be on an NBA court. He's been terrible pretty much his whole career save half a season on his contract year.

Vujabrick needs to be traded or released after this season. The guy does nothing but throw up wild shots at the rim and pick up fouls. When he, Farmar and Walton are on the court at the same time I am reminded of the 3 stooges from years ago. These guys are clowns that need to be let go.



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