Broderick Turner of the LA Times wrote:
His coach has called him "Space Cadet" and "My Favorite Martian" -- with affection, of course.
Lakers forward Vladimir Radmanovic has taken all the name-calling from Phil Jackson in stride, knowing that it never stopped Jackson from starting him last season.
Radmanovic won't start this season, but it's not because the name calling ceased during the first few days of the Lakers' training camp.
"He's given me a little break," Radmanovic said today, smiling. "It's doesn't mean he won't bring it back. But I don't really mind it. I'd like to say that as long as Coach is talking about you, it's a good thing. Once everybody stops talking about you, that means you're in trouble. 'Space Cadet,' I don't like it, but it's good."
Last season, when Andrew Bynum went down with a left knee injury, Radmanovic moved into the starting lineup, starting 41 regular-season games and 21 playoff contests.
But Bynum is back healthy and will start at center. Pau Gasol will move back to power forward and Lamar Odom will go to small forward, or it could be Kobe Bryant in that spot if Jackson's experiment of Odom playing point guard works out.
"I've been in a position where I started, I've been in position where I haven't started," said Radmanovic, who is entering his eighth NBA season and has three years and $19.4 million left on his Lakers contract. "I'm not going to say I don't care about not starting. But at the same time, I want this team to be as good as it can."
But there's a chance the 6-foot-10 Radmanovic could see his playing time significantly limited.
The Lakers staff likes Trevor Ariza's athleticism and Jackson has even suggested starting him at small forward.
So it seems as if Ariza will be the first small forward off the bench.
Then there is Luke Walton, recovering from right ankle surgery, who also is looking for playing time at small forward.
So the Lakers have five players who can play that position.
"There are going to be some guys who aren't happy," Radmanovic said. "Hopefully it's not going to be me."
Radmanovic is known for his outside shooting -- he made 43.7% of his field goals and 40.6% of his three-pointers last season.
But Jackson lauded Radmanovic's defense.
"Defensively, there are a lot of positive things he can do," Jackson said today. "He's got anticipation [to get] steals, he's got quickness to double team and trap."