Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

February 7, 2009

Lakers-Bobcats Swap

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 9:56 pm

Take out the name “Adam Morrison” and it becomes pretty clear that Saturday’s deal between the Bobcats and the Lakers was a salary dump from the L.A. perspective. The Lakers sent reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovic to Charlotte in exchange for Morrison and Shannon Brown. Brown’s relatively paltry contract is up after this season, so financially this deal is really Morrison for Radmanovic, and the latter has an additional year (at player option) and will make more money next season. The savings for the Lakers is especially considerable because they are luxury-tax payers. From their perspective, that more than outweighed a slight hit to their depth.

Certainly, Radmanovic is a more capable contributor than Morrison, who has rated well below replacement level over the course of his brief NBA career. Nonetheless, the logic is harder to see from the Bobcats’ end of this deal. This is the second straight swap (the other for DeSagana Diop) that has seen Charlotte take on a less-favorable contract for a minor contributor, and this time the fit doesn’t seem to make sense either. The marriage of Larry Brown and Radmanovic is unlikely to end well given Radmanovic’s general indifference to rebounding and playing defense.

Once Gerald Wallace is able to return to the lineup, Radmanovic figures to back up both forward positions, joining Diop on the bench. That means Charlotte has more than $17 million committed to three reserves (Diop, Radmanovic and Nazr Mohammed), a figure that will escalate all the way to more than $20 million by 2010-11. Those kind of contracts (and yes, Radmanovic is yet another example of the mid-level exception gone bad) are killers in terms of flexibility. Slightly improving the bench simply isn’t worth taking on bad deals.

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