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Shhhh! Don't Tell Anyone: The Morrison Trade Isn't Really About Morrison

Here's the dirtly little secret behind the Adam Morrison for Vladimir Radmanovic trade: The Lakers didn't do it to get Morrison. They did it to get Shannon Brown, and AmMo provided the salary necessary to trade VladRad. Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson are no dummies. They know Morrison's not as good as Radmanovic, so they must also think Brown can give them something they lack.

We'll get to the Bobcats in a moment. Let's consider the Lakers' roster. Sun Yue simply isn't ready to play in high stakes games, and Sasha Vujacic isn't an acceptable point guard. Shannon Brown is not a natural point, either, but he's a hell of a lot better than Vujacic in that role, he's a plus defender, and he can push the tempo alongside Fisher or Farmar when Kobe needs a rest or slides to the three in a way that The Machine can't. Morrison, meanwhile, will sit. If he does play, he'll be expected to spread the defense with long range shooting, and that's about it, but his minutes will be few and far between. I'm calling it now: Brown will get a lot more play. Coaches like Jackson and Greg Popovich love guys like Brown because they have zero sense of entitlement, and he's going to fit in well with what the Lakers do.

As for the Bobcats, the RadMan is a clear upgrade on Morrison, and with DJ Augustin's return, the organization must believe they've no longer got a need for Brown, since Larry Brown likes putting Felton at the two, and Cartier Martin's acceptable play since getting called up might have convinced management he can step in as a backup two, also.

VladRad starts at the three in Gerald's absence, but when Wallace returns, that gives us:

PG: Felton, Augustin, Singletary

SG: Bell, Martin, Felton

SF: Wallace, Radmanovic, Diaw

PF: Diaw, Radmanovic, Howard, Okafor

C: Okafor, Diop, Mohammed

The nine-man rotation is simple. Starters play as long as necessary. Augustin in for Felton. VladRad in for Wallace or Diaw. Diop in for Okafor. Martin in for Bell. Augustin/Felton play a little together. Diop/Okafor play a little together. In my dreams, when they play a poor-shooting team, they go big down the line, zone up, and play Felton or Augustin at the point, Diaw at the nominal two, Wallace and VladRad at the three and four, and Okafor at the five, but that's highly unlikely to happen.

On offense, for his career, Morrison was only shooting 37% from the field, and 33% from beyond the arc. Radmanovic has shot better than that every year of his career. He's a very good choice to sub in for Diaw because his scoring style is similar, though he doesn't pass nearly as well. Note that Diaw has attempted way more threes with the Bobcats than he did as Mike D'Antoni's center or as a guard with the Hawks.

More important, with Brown gone, it means Gerald is the only high flying slasher left. Just as Raja Bell does so well, we're going to see VladRad coming off screens and popping 18 foot jumpers. With his height, it'll be tough to stop, even if his man is in his shirt. And Gerald's brand of driving the lane to make a tomahawk slam suddenly looks even more out of place, even if it has been effective.