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Lakers agree to deal Sasha Vujacic to Nets, acquire veteran forward Joe Smith

December 14, 2010 |  4:07 pm

Sasha In a move to bolster their front-court depth and also save millions in salary and luxury taxes, the Lakers have agreed to trade Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round draft pick to New Jersey as part of a three-team trade that will bring veteran forward Joe Smith to the Lakers.

The trade is conditional upon Smith passing a physical.

As the fifth guard in Phil Jackson’s four-guard rotation, Vujacic had seen his playing time reduced to almost nothing this season.

Vujacic, 26, is averaging only 1.8 points and 4.9 minutes a game. He played in 11 of the Lakers’ 24 games before Tuesday.

Smith, 35, has seen a downturn in his stats in recent seasons and played only four games for the Nets this season, averaging 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds.

He possesses a decent mid-range jump shot and can provide a handful of minutes for the Lakers. He averaged 9.3 minutes a game last season for Atlanta, averaging three points and 2.5 rebounds a game.

The Lakers will save money on the trade, which also involved the Nets' sending Terrance Williams to Houston.

Smith is making a relatively low $1.4 million this season, almost half of which is paid by the league because it is a veteran’s minimum salary.

Vujacic is making $5.5 million in the last season of a three-year, $15-million contract he signed in the summer of 2008 to stay with the Lakers.

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Sasha Vujacic. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times