Warriors forward Vladimir Radmanovic loses his balance after he was fouled… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Vladimir Radmanovic was back in town, making it the perfect time to ask Phil Jackson who would be atop the list of characters and flakes he has coached.
Jackson has seen quite a few, most famously Dennis Rodman and most recently Ron Artest, with Radmanovic definitely in the mix for top-five consideration.
"I've got a couple on this team that have a chance to make it," Jackson said Sunday. "[Artest] is an interesting, very interesting, player. Sasha [Vujacic] is an interesting person for me. I know he irritates a lot of people. For me, it's kind of humorous."
Artest is the most entertaining player to interview on the Lakers, though Jackson sometimes frowns upon his freelancing on offense. Vujacic manages to annoy teammates (in practice) and opponents with his on-court antics, but Jackson seems almost disappointed he hasn't found more playing time for Vujacic.
"There's a respect we have for Sasha's game. There's something that he does, we'll probably need it during the season," Jackson said. "Right now, with [Shannon] Brown going great and Steve Blake, it's hard for him to get some minutes."
Deep down, Jackson said, he respected Artest's work ethic.
"There's some guys that can give a lot of fluff about how much they like to play and how willing they are to be part of a team, but Ron and Dennis, they were great teammates and guys that are interested in winning, and I think that's important," he said.
As for Radmanovic…
Now with Golden State, he was called a "space cadet" by Jackson, who was continually befuddled by Radmanovic's desire to toss up three-pointers incredibly early in the shot clock.
(It didn't help that Radmanovic once fibbed about a serious shoulder injury, telling the team he slipped on a patch of ice while crossing the street in Park City, Utah, but eventually coming clean and saying he was hurt in a snowboarding accident during the 2007 All-Star break.)
Jackson was all smiles when asked about Radmanovic before the Lakers played the Warriors on Sunday.
"Definitely, Vlade's one of my favorite sons," he said. "I miss the erratic things he'd do that just would give you a chuckle on the bench."
Radmanovic was traded in February 2008 for Brown and Adam Morrison. It turned out pretty well for the Lakers.
Big man arriving?
The Lakers still want to add a free-agent center after losing reserve Theo Ratliff for at least three to five more weeks.
"We're looking into that and we hope to get something settled this week," Jackson said.
Former Dallas center Erick Dampier wants a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season, but the Lakers hope to sign a player for only a week or two.
Paul Davis, who is playing in Spain, and Jake Voskuhl have also been considered by the Lakers.
Football in L.A.?
The area around Staples Center was buzzing with activity Sunday, thanks to the American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre and the L.A. Auto Show at the Convention Center.
Jackson, however, warned players beforehand that they better not be late to the game.
"I tell them, when the football stadium gets built, it's only going to get worse," he said.