For the record, the main reason Sasha’s productivity went off a cliff was an injury suffered in camp during the 08-09 season. As you noted, the year before that he was part of the Lakers crunch time lineup (Fisher, Sasha, Kobe, Odom, Gasol) and won a Finals game by himself. So signing the contract wasn’t TOO bad. The problem was that injury and the lingering effects.
For those people who don’t follow the Lakers, you don’t know that this team has (by far) the worst training staff in the league. Every time someone on the Lakers gets a seemingly minor injury, it has a very high probability to stick with them for life and/or potentially ruin their career. To note.
Let’s start with Walton. Walton was the 3rd best player on a playoff team and a starter. He was leading the league in 3 point percentage for awhile until…he turned an ankle. Now his last name is WALTON so we shouldn’t be surprised when an ankle injury never goes away but still. He returned from a turned ankle (after missing 1/3 the season). Since that point he’s been unable to jump over an ant, his 3 point % has been bad since then and he probably leads the league in % of his own shots sent directly back into his nose.
Chris Mihm. In 07-08 he sprained his ankle midway through the year. For some reason he missed THE ENTIRE REST OF THE SEASON with a sprained ankle. He then missed most of next season. When he finally came back, he could no longer jump. His career was basically ended. He was traded to Memphis in a salary dump, they got one look at his foot and he never played pro basketball again.
Then we get to Vujacic. Sprained his ankle early in the preseason of 08-09 (notice a trend here). There’s evidence that he STILL has not recovered. He hasn’t had the athleticism on the perimeter even though he thinks he does. In 08, he was playing decent physical defense. Now he can’t stay in front of anyone, so he leads the league in fouls committed 40 feet+ from the basket. His shot has also never recovered due to the lack of arc, which can be attributed to diminished leg strength.
Then there’s Kobe and the fact that for the rest of his life, he has lost some degree of mobility on 2 fingers on his right hand. And people wonder why Gasol (the smartest guy on the team) completely stopped listening to the Lakers training staff and brought in his own doctors regarding his hamstrings last year. Smartest decision he ever made.