The Lakers had the same starting lineup for the first 20 games of the season, so by now, you know the crew: Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Vladimir Radmanovic. The team got out to a 17-3 start with these guys on the floor, but apparently, Phil Jackson was seeing something that he felt needed changing. So to the surprise of everyone -- including the players involved -- Luke Walton got the start against the Suns, while Vlad-Rad was unceremoniously dumped to the bench.
Phil made the switch shortly before tip-off, and apparently wasn't interested in mentioning the move to Radmanovic himself; Vlad heard of the move indirectly as Phil told Luke of the sudden switch.
Radmanovic said he heard Jackson say, “Luke, take Vladi’s place.”
“The biggest shock to me is that nobody said anything,” the Lakers’ forward said. “That’s one thing that’s disappointing. At this level, we should talk with each other and let each other know, regardless of what the situation is.”
Ouch. Radmanovic and Jackson have had their clashes in the past, like the time Phil once referred to him as a "space cadet." But it seems odd, even for a tenured coach like Jackson who's known for playing mind games with his players, not to even mention to someone directly that he's lost his starting job. Especially when the player is going from playing over 20 minutes a game to zero, with basically no explanation for the change.