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LAKERS FYI

Lakers get Adam Morrison for Vladimir Radmanovic

Streak-shooting Radmanovic hadn't been getting much playing time.

February 08, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

CLEVELAND — Forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who was once infamously called a "space cadet" by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, has found a new team to orbit.

In a move that trims $8.5 million off the Lakers' payroll, Radmanovic was sent Saturday to the Charlotte Bobcats for a pair of third-year pros -- forward Adam Morrison and guard Shannon Brown.

Neither Brown nor Morrison, the third pick in the 2006 draft, figure to get significant playing time in the near future, though the Lakers hope they can eventually contribute to an already deep batch of reserves.

They will undergo physical exams in Los Angeles on Monday morning and could be activated Tuesday against Oklahoma City.

Radmanovic started 28 games this season and all 21 for the Lakers in last season's playoffs, though he could never shake his overall inconsistent play. He is ninth in the league in three-point accuracy (44.1%), but a below-average defender and prone to make glaring mistakes with the ball.

Morrison, 24, averaged a respectable 11.8 points a game as a floppy-haired rookie out of Gonzaga but missed the entire 2007-08 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in an October 2007 exhibition game against the Lakers.

He has played 44 games this season, including five starts, and averaged 4.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 15.2 minutes a game.

"He was a prolific scorer in college. After a devastating injury, he really hasn't had a chance to develop as a player yet." Jackson said. "He's a real good spot-up shooter."

Brown, 23, was selected 25th in 2006 out of Michigan State. He averaged 3.2 points as a rookie for Cleveland, spent time with the Cavaliers and Chicago in his second season, and was averaging 4.8 points in 11.4 minutes a game with the Bobcats this season.

"We felt we picked up two players that have upside," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "We pick up some flexibility down the road with a shortened [financial] commitment . . . "

Radmanovic, 28, had two more years and almost $13.4 million on his contract after this season and figured to have an almost immovable contract. The Lakers, however, were able to strike a deal 12 days before the trade deadline.

Morrison has one more season left on his contract at $5.2 million before becoming a restricted free agent in July 2010. Brown will make almost $800,000 this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in five months.

Despite saving money by lopping Radmanovic's deal off the books, the Lakers are not expected to be players in the summer 2010 free-agent derby that could include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They will still be well over the salary cap, and probably the luxury-tax threshold, and that's without taking into consideration that Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom will be free agents in July.

Jackson recently said he did not expect the team to make any trades because of their on-court chemistry, but Radmanovic had already been looking in from the outside. He did not play Thursday against Boston and averaged only eight minutes in the previous four games.

Radmanovic was friendly with teammates but grumbled about his playing time. When he was benched after starting the Lakers' first 20 games, he said he wasn't "really happy with it" and "didn't get any heads-up or explanation."

"Vlade was well-liked," Kupchak said. "If he continued not to play, he would have just been more and more unhappy, and then maybe the chemistry side of it doesn't look as good."

Radmanovic found himself in the franchise's doghouse when he came back with a separated shoulder after a snowboarding accident in Utah during the 2007 All-Star break. He initially fibbed about his injury, saying he slipped on a patch of ice while crossing the street in Park City, but eventually came clean and was fined $500,000 by the Lakers while sitting out seven weeks because of the injury.

Saturday's trade increases the Lakers' roster to the league maximum of 15 players, but are they done before the Feb. 19 trade deadline?

"I wouldn't say that I'm out there making a lot of calls," Kupchak said. "We've got the best record in the league right now. We've just had a great road trip and hopefully we can end it really strong [today in Cleveland]. I'm not sure we want to address anything more than continuing to win as many games as possible and hope to get Andrew [Bynum] back. I don't think there's a deal out there that can make us a better team."

Rivers fined

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was fined $15,000 by the NBA for "verbal abuse of game officials" after the Lakers' 110-109 overtime victory Thursday over Boston.

Rivers said at the time that "the game got out of control . . . and I thought the officials allowed it to get out of control. I just thought it was a chippy game in the second half and it didn't need to be."

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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