NBA Roundtable

Vujacic Re-Signs With LA

In Free Agency on July 26, 2008 at 2:31 am

Great news over at ESPN breaking the news that Sasha Vujacic will remain with the Lakers for the upcoming season. Here’s the details:

Lakers restricted free agent guard Sasha Vujacic has agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract after emerging last season as a key member of the Western Conference champions.

“We felt Sasha made great progress in this past year, and our coach showed great confidence in playing him the second half of the season,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday in confirming the agreement, first reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “Assuming he continues to work as hard during the offseason as he has in the past, I don’t see any reason that trend wouldn’t continue.”

The 24-year-old Vujacic averaged a career-high 8.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 72 games this season, and 8.1 points 2.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists while playing in all 21 playoff games.

Vujacic drew national attention June 10, scoring a career playoff high 20 points including a crucial 3-pointer with a little under two minutes remaining in the Lakers’ 87-81 victory over the Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA finals.

Earlier in the day there were reports of Vujacic possibility heading to Europe, which I thought would be a crucial loss to the Lakers bench that would seriously harm their Championship hopes. Thankfully that hasn’t come to fruition.

Great signing by the Lakers and a truly necessary signing. This gives their bench some solidity and will help their Championship hopes next season.

Some have said that $5mil per annum is too much for Vujacic … they’re probably right but he isn’t being overpaid by too much. Gibson got a $21mil 5 year contract in Cleveland which was about right, and Sasha is a superior player than Gibson. Also, Sasha has improved significantly each year of his pro career so while he isn’t worth that money today he might be worth it in a year or two’s time (ala Korver). Another way of looking at it was that Vujacic was their actual 6th man in the playoffs last season and did the job well, and that’s about the salary for a 6th man of quality. During the regular season of course Jordan Farmar was the bench’s pivotal player but he under-performed through most of the playoffs … which muddies that picture somewhat.

Either way whether Vujacic is earning too much or not … the Lakers most definitely needed him on their bench to give them a superior shot at the title next season. Considering all the other money and hopes in the roster, it was a signing well worth doing.

The years on the contract also decrease the risk. It’s only a three year deal so the contract will remain tradeable, or could be restructured in 3 years time if he’s not worth that type of money. It gives a lot of added flexibility over a 5 year deal which would be far more imposing on the Lakers flexibility.

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