Los Angeles Lakers: Who Won and Lost In Deal With Rockets and Nets?
Los Angeles Lakers brass has seen fit to bolster an already deep supporting cast.
This means they have also have had to part with a player that has been with the Lakers for six seasons prior to this year's campaign. Sasha Vujacic has been traded.
The Lakers entered a three-team trade Tuesday evening, as the team was getting set to take on the Wizards in Washington.
The game was to be the first one of the season for starting center Andrew Bynum, who has been out of the lineup with a knee injury. So as the purple and gold welcome back a familiar face, they say goodbye to an old friend.
Here we will take a look at the details of the trade and assess the outcome.
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On Tuesday, the Lakers entered discussions with the New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets on a potential three-team trade.
It has just now been reported by ESPN that the following deal has been agreed upon.
The Lakers shipped off shooting guard Sasha Vujacic to the New Jersey Nets, where he will regroup with former Lakers guard and teammate Jordan Farmar. The Nets will also receive Los Angeles' 2011 first-round pick and Houston's 2012 lottery-protected first-round pick.
The Rockets get Terrence Williams, a 2009 first-round pick by the Nets.
The Lakers will welcome NBA journeyman Joe Smith into the fold.
Loss: Los Angeles Lakers: The Machine
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Hate him or love him, Sasha Vujacic was a Los Angeles institution. Not necessarily In-N-Out but maybe ubiquitous traffic. I came to expect that, once every few games, Phil Jackson would look down the bench with a sleepy gaze and call Vujacic to take the final three minutes of a blowout game.
While Vujacic did not add much to our offense for the past couple of seasons, he has done wonders on the defensive end. It is nice to know that you have a pest on your bench that can bother one of the opposition's guards.
I will also sorely miss the strange and wonderful family feud we would all be treated to when the Suns would come to town. At least once a game, Vujacic and Goran Dragic would show us what real hate looks like.
Win: Los Angeles Lakers: Money
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The Lakers essentially have given up a pick and Vujacic for Joe Smith. This is a trade that does not look outstanding at first glance. But, then again, it is not supposed to. The main reason Vujacic is gone is because another team was willing to take him. It is as simple as that.
Vujacic somehow duped the Lakers into paying him $5,475,113 in 2011. Joe Smith will be making just under $1 million. At face value, this was a monetary decision for the Lakers. They have to dump salary when the option becomes available to them. Now if they can just convince someone that Luke Walton is a valuable resource.
Win: Los Angeles Lakers: Depth
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The trade does have roster ramifications. Joe Smith bolsters the Lakers bench and adds depth. Also, as soon a Smith scores his first bucket, the Lakers are winners. Vujacic was not doing much of that this season.
Joe Smith also provides another big man for the Lakers to throw out there every night. It is abundantly clear that Pau Gasol has tired as of late. Any minutes that Smith can take at the power forward position will be greatly appreciated come the postseason.
Loss: New Jersey Nets: Terrence Williams
The Nets were very high on the Louisville star, so much so that they decided to use their first-round pick to snag him. The knock on Williams is his immaturity. He forces up shots that just aren't there.
But this guy is a beast of a talent. He has the speed and versatility to be a star. The situation just was not the right one for Williams to emerge. He had fallen out of favor with head coach Avery Johnson and was losing valuable minutes on the floor. He has the tools to be a real threat in the NBA. He just won't be doing it in New Jersey now.
Win: New Jersey Nets Young: Talent
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The Nets very well could have resigned themselves to the fact that outside help is not coming by way of a blockbuster trade. If there is no Carmelo Anthony in the stars, they must grow their own talent. With this trade, the Nets have five first-round picks in the next two seasons.
For a team on the outs, this comes as terrific news. Five brand spanking new diaper dandies may be just what the doctor ordered. The Nets have seen what young talent can do firsthand. They have a remarkable pair in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. If they play their cards right, in a few years they may be the talk of the town.
A new stadium in Brooklyn and young fresh legs to carry the team: the future looks bright for New Jersey.
Win: New Jersey Nets: Cohesion
With a big influx of youngsters on their way to an already youthful roster, Avery Johnson will have his hands full. That is why it is good the team got rid of their most cancerous player.
Terrence Williams has been a headache for head coach Avery Johnson. He had to suspend the small forward earlier this year for consistently showing up late to practice. He was recently suspended for a second time. Johnson dismissed that the cause was again tardiness but did not divulge the reason.
It is very clear the Nets had grown tired of Williams' antics and decided to wash their hands of him. For Johnson, Williams was a player that could not be coached. He gave the ball up too often and shot too many ill-advised shots. He is now Rick Adelman's issue.
Loss: Houston Rockets: Jermaine Taylor
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The Rockets have had to give up both a pick and a player to land the young small forward, Terrence Williams. The pick has come in the form of the Rockets 2012 lottery-protected selection. If the Rockets pick in the first three slots of the 2012 draft, they get to keep their pick. The way this team is headed, that is a definite possibility.
The player they traded away was outside the realm of the three-team trade. The Rockets made room for Terrence Williams by agreeing with the Sacramento Kings to swap Jermaine Taylor for a Kings future second-round pick. The former Rockets guard will barely be missed. He averaged a paltry nine minutes a game with a team that is flush with guards.
Win: Houston Rockets: Terrence Williams
For Houston, this might be desperation time. The Rockets, once playoff regulars, have fallen on hard times. Yao Ming is consistently injured. When he is healthy, his minutes are monitored. The only real star of the bunch is Kevin Martin.
The Rockets had to make a move. I am not so sure this is the right one. Terrence Williams is a talent. There is no denying that fact. He is a great slasher and has tremendous speed and scoring ability. But he is also a raw talent.
Williams is prone to make mistakes. He forces his offense and turns the ball over too readily. Seemingly, the Rockets are sure Rick Adelman can tame the young talent. If he can, the Rockets could be the long-term winners in this trade.
Conclusion: Lakers Win
You will be happy to know that the the recent trade makes the most immediate sense for the Los Angeles Lakers.
With Theo Ratliff injured, Pau Gasol gassed, and Andrew Bynum barely getting into game shape, the Lakers needed another body. Joe Smith is reliable and seasoned. Some may say he is too seasoned. I agree he is old.
But any minutes he can muster in those tired legs will benefit the Lakers greatly. Add to that the fact that Los Angeles just dumped roughly $4 million in salary and it's a purple-and-gold night.