Lakers finding nonexistent market for Vujacic

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vujacic.jpgUpdate 4:32 pm A new version of this trade has popped up on ESPN: Two parts are the same, the Lakers get Hinrich and the Blazers get Tyrus Thomas and Sasha Vujacic. What is different is more details on what the Bulls get: Adam Morrison, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and Juwan Howard. However, this does not solve the issue that the Blazers do not really want Vujacic.

1:15 pm The Lakers know they need an upgrade at point guard (although they add they can still win a title this year as is). They also think the Bulls Kirk Hinrich could be a good fit long term (even though is offensive numbers this year are basically the same as Derek Fisher’s).

Hinrich, however, is expensive — he is owed $9 million next year, $8 million the year after that. The Lakers are already paying Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom and Ron Artest a lot of money in that time. That would be $17 million for offensive option number five in the Lakers offense.

Still, their interested, but they need to get someone to take on one of their bad contracts. Say, Sasha Vujacic. That’s what Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting.

The Portland Trail Blazers were telling teams over the weekend they had a chance to acquire Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and wondered whether teams might have an interest in obtaining him. This prompted several executives to suggest the Blazers were working on a three-team trade, including one Eastern Conference general manager who had been told the elements of the package included (Tyrus) Thomas and Vujacic to Portland, the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich to Los Angeles and the Lakers’ Adam Morrison, another expiring deal and a first-round pick to the Bulls.

“What has, or will kill this,” one GM said, “is that Portland just won’t take Vujacic on.”

Vujacic is owed $5.5 million next year, the last year of a deal that he signed right after the 2008 Finals, when he closed out games alongside Kobe and played the best basketball of his career. Since then, his shot has come and come and gone like Punxsutawney Phil. His defense has mostly just gone.

Next year, as an expiring deal, the Lakers likely will be able to move him. But this year, if someone has to take him on for the Lakers to make a deal, it looks like Buss and team will play the cards they have been dealt.