Posted Feb 9 2009 7:48PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Vladimir Radmanovic could put up with being called a "space cadet" and "my favorite martian" by Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
But when Jackson stopped playing Radmanovic, the versatile forward suggested it was time to leave Los Angeles.
As Radmanovic prepared to pull on a Charlotte Bobcats jersey for the first time Monday, Radmanovic acknowledged he had asked for a trade.
"I said if there was something to be done, I was open for it," Radmanovic said.
The odd Radmanovic-Jackson marriage was broken up Saturday when the Lakers sent the 6-foot-10 Serbian to the Bobcats for underachieving forward Adam Morrison and reserve guard Shannon Brown.
The deal came as Radmanovic's playing time plummeted. After beginning the season as a starter, Radmanovic find himself behind Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza at small forward. When center Andrew Bynum was injured, Lamar Odom moved into the starting lineup and Radmanovic fell even further in the rotation.
Radmanovic didn't play more than 14 minutes in any of his final six games as a Laker and totaled five points in his final four games.
"That was a big surprise for me, after starting 20-something games and all of a sudden coming to practice and being told you're not playing anymore even though the team had lost only three games," Radmanovic said. "It was a huge surprise for me in my career."
But it was another chapter in his difficult relationship with Jackson.
Not long after signing with the Lakers as a free agent in 2006, Jackson got on Radmanovic for a perceived lack of concentration and his tendency to take bad shots. It didn't help that Radmanovic was fined in 2007 after suffering a shoulder injury while snowboarding, an activity banned in his contract.
Besides the space cadet barb, Jackson told reporters last season that Radmanovic needed to spend time with a psychologist.
"That's his way of trying to reach out to players," Radmanovic said. "As a person, you try to not really pay attention to it, the names I was called over there. I didn't take it personal, obviously. If I did I would have talked back to him. That's just Phil. He's a different guy, a guy who likes to address certain issues with the players in the media."
Charlotte coach Larry Brown said he spoke with Radmanovic's coach in Seattle, Nate McMillan, for tips on how to use his new player. The 12th pick in the 2001 draft, Radmanovic averaged 12 points in the 2003-04 season and 11.8 points a year later with the SuperSonics. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers before the trade deadline in 2006.
"I just want him to relax, enjoy playing and go from there," Brown said.
The 28-year-old Radmanovic joins a much different team than his previous employer, going from a championship contender to a fifth-year franchise that was 19-31 entering Monday's game with the Clippers.
But Radmanovic figures to get much more time on the floor with Charlotte, while escaping a difficult relationship with his old boss.
"As a player you always want to play," Radmanovic said. "To be on a team like the Lakers, I was willing to sacrifice my minutes, my touches and everything else to be successful and for us to win a championship. Unfortunately it didn't work out."
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