I was never much of a Vladimir Radmanovic fan.
He had one NBA skill, shooting from distance, and that high arching shot was beautiful to watch and would turn a couple of games a year your way. But his complete failure at every other aspect of the game, especially his mental gaffes on defense - I have described him as being drawn to watching and following the ball the way a 3 year old is drawn to a balloon - would turn more the opponents' way.
Add in the obvious lack of interest on working on his game or learning anything, and the infamous incident where he hurt himself snowboarding and then tried to lie his way out of it, and this was not an easy guy to have to root for.
But he was so overpaid that I did not think they would ever find a way to trade him, until he was in the final year of his contract, so I was left hoping he didn't do too much harm.
So I was obviously thrilled to see the Lakers able to move out his contract in a pure salary dump trade on Saturday.
And I was not, in the least, surprised to hear what proved to be the final straw:
He wore Vans for practice.
That was Vladimir Radmanovic’s last act as a Laker before he was traded Saturday to the Charlotte Bobcats in primarily a payroll-paring move for the future. The Lakers acquired small forward Adam Morrison, a bust to this point as the third pick in the 2006 draft, and shooting guard Shannon Brown.
In his final Lakers practice on Friday, Radmanovic didn’t wear basketball shoes. He wore Vans – the low-top, slip-on kind of sneakers favored by skateboarders and, yes, snowboarders.
Or not seriously … because what undermined Radmanovic, 28, in every attempt to make his mark as a Laker was a lack of seriousness about his profession. That’s why the Lakers were thrilled to unload his contract to spend more freely this offseason in trying to re-sign Trevor Ariza.
I'm sure Larry Brown will love him!
UPDATE 2/14/09: I can't let this bizarre comment by Vlad pass:
"Phil's system, great as it is, doesn't give a role player much opportunity. For Kobe Bryant, it's great. For Pau Gasol, it's great. But role players don't do much."
Seriously? Jackson is the coach with whom helping put role players into situations in which they can thrive is most identified. From B.J. Armstrong and Luc Longley to Robert Horry and Rick Fox to Derek Fisher and Luke Walton, tons of role players have had their best seasons under Jackson. And in many cases gone on to nice contracts elsewhere as a result.
Truly an unjustifiable charge by Radmanovic.