A Farewell to ‘The Machine’

It only took a quick slick of the eyebrows for Sasha Vujacic to drain two crucial free throws with 11.7 seconds left on the clock during Game 7 of the Finals last season, even after sitting the entire fourth quarter.

Nov 2, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic (18) during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center.  Photo via Newscom

That’s what machines do.

On Tuesday, all it took Mitch Kupchak was a few phone calls to wheel and deal Vujacic’s expiring contract to the New Jersey Nets, saving the Lakers around $8 million.

That’s what great general manager’s do.

It was a move that most expected Kupchak to make over the summer to facilitate the signing of Shannon Brown, rumors swirled, but the likelihood of a team purposely inheriting Vujacic’s inflated contract was slim to none. The retention of Brown, the signing of Blake and the Lakers already solid starting back-court left Vujacic as the fifth guard and furthest down the totem pole, the 6-foot-7, 205 pound guard limited to time usually referred to as “garbage.”

Vujacic is at the tail end of a three-year, $15-million contract he signed with the Lakers during the summer of 2008. Perhaps his dynamic Game 3 performance during the playoffs, posting 20 points off the bench in the 08’ Finals, was the catalyst leading to the Lakers inking a deal with the Slovenian guard. It was his best
season to date, but a lot can happen over a span of two years, and Vujacic’s numbers never quite lived up to expectations.

Next: Vujacic’s numbers slowly take a dive

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