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.
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.