Tracy McGrady Is a Lakers Dream, but Vujacic and Walton are Reality
Tracy McGrady recently said he may be interested in joining the Chicago Bulls for the 2010-2011 season, and it seems Los Angeles Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak hasn't been pursuing McGrady anyway.
Of course Kupchak could be downplaying any potential deal for McGrady, but it appears that the Lakers may be done dealing in this year's free agency period.
There is still a chance the Lakers could seek to improve their roster through a trade, but unless that happens, the roster for next season will only include three new faces in Steve Blake, and rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter.
Two familiar faces who will hope to have more of an impact next season are Sasha Vujacic and Luke walton, but to most Lakers' fans, that is a song they have heard before.
Vujacic and Walton define the love-hate relationship some Lakers' fans have with the team and their inconsistency, and failure to progress is a thorn in the side for anyone who follows the Lakers.
Vujacic—formerly known as the machine—has a long distance shot with perfect form and technique, that has failed to find the bottom of the net in the manner that it used to.
As Vujacic's shots stopped falling, he fell out of favor with Lakers' coach Phil Jackson and the fans, but there are still things Vujacic can offer to Los Angeles besides his scoring.
The main reason Jackson favored Vujacic in the first place was his stifling man to man defense, but it seemed Vujacic lost his discipline once the Lakers offered him a long term contract.
Vujacic's scrappy, physical defense tends to get in the opposition's heads, but he is prone to the same type of emotional outbursts which he tries to subject others to.
The Lakers almost faced disaster against the Phoenix Suns in the postseason due to a silly foul by Vujacic, and if he is to play a more prominent role, he will have to control himself in those situations.
Vujacic did hit two critical free throws in the closing seconds of Game Seven of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, and the confidence to perform calmly in that type of moment is something he can build on.
Besides Vujacic, Walton is probably the most despised member of the Lakers' roster, but I have never held the same resentment towards him or his game, he could be instrumental if he stays healthy.
Walton has always been one of Jackson's favorite players, but it has more to do with Walton's passing abilities and intelligence than anything else.
Walton will never be confused with one of the NBA's great athletes, but he does have great vision, and Jackson has called him the floor leader of the Lakers' second unit.
Most people look at Walton and are immediately turned off by his lack of quickness and his non-existent leaping ability, but I am more impressed by the way he still manages to grab rebounds, and understands the flow of the triangle offense.
Walton is not a great outside shooter, but he can knock down open shots, but his value is in creating offensive opportunities for his teammates and initiating the offense.
If Walton can mange to stay healthy he can serve as an important asset to the Lakers' reserves, and he also has value as a secondary ball-handler since Jordan Farmar departed for New Jersey.
Both Walton and Vujacic have an understanding of what is expected from them by the Lakers, and both gained valuable experience from playing in the last three NBA Finals.
Lakers' fans will still clamor for McGrady, especially if the opportunity presents itself, but Walton and Vujacic are not terrible consolation prizes if the quest for McGrady is fruitless.
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