Just got back from Sasha Vujacic’s press conference this afternoon and got the answer to the question you always have to ask a free agent who has just cashed in:
“I heard a rumor that guys who sign a contract don’t keep working to get better, but I don’t agree with that,” Vujacic said. “I will definitely keep getting better. I’m a gym rat. That’s how I am.
“My goal is to be the best shooter in the NBA and if I keep working hard, I think I can do that.”
It’s no coincidence that the Lakers and Vujacic agreed to a three-year deal. From the team’s standpoint, it means that the Lakers can see how he develops over the next three years, if he gets better, or if he’s reached his ceiling, without committing to six years. From Vujacic’s standpoint, it means that he’s in line for a much bigger payday in three years, when he’ll only be 27 (the prime for most NBA players) if he continues to develop.
Vujacic is taking on some risk of course. If he doesn’t improve, or if the Lakers don’t play as well as a team, his value in three years might be lower, not higher. To compensate him for that risk, the team upped its original offer of about $12 million over three seasons to $15 million over three seasons.
In other words, Vujacic got paid, but still has plenty of incentive to work on his game.
He said that because the negotiations took so long, he’s only planning to go home to Slovenia for about a week, then return to Los Angeles and get back in the gym.