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Lakers struggles have GM Kupchak thinking trade

Jan 31, 2011, 7:58 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Getty Images

There’s a feeling in Los Angeles that all the Lakers just need a swift kick in the, um, how shall we say, behind to get playing with a sense of urgency again.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told’s Scott Howard-Cooper he was considering just such a kick.

“Regarding a trade, I may have to,” Kupchak said at the team’s practice facility a day after the convincing loss to their heated rivals, the Celtics. “I’m not saying that I’ve made calls today or I’ll make them tomorrow. But I just don’t think that we’re playing as well as our talent level should allow us….

“I wasn’t (considering making a trade),” Kupchak said. “But it looks as if we may have to. … It’s something I may do in the future. I just don’t think that our talent level is playing as well as they can play. We have an incredibly high payroll and we do that because we have players that normally produce at a high level. And I’m not sure I see that now.”

This may be more threat than reality, but Kupchak has to be thinking about it after recent Lakers performances.

Any trades would likely be around the periphery — the Lakers core is locked up for two seasons beyond this one at top dollar and the Lakers won two titles with that group, they’re not breaking it up because of an off January. After that, it’s not likely anyone is taking the two years and $11.4 million Luke Walton is still owed off the Lakers hands. Or the three years and nearly $22 million Ron Artest still has. It’s not likely the Lakers could find a deal where they got much back for guys like Matt Barnes. They may well be interested if they could bring in a more defensive-minded point guard or a more steady outside shooter, maybe. But who is going to trade them that and risk the wrath of Popovich?

After a couple of days of public flogging and plenty of hand wringing on Los Angeles talk radio about this team’s struggles — being 9-9 against teams over .500 with ugly losses to the Heat and Celtics — it will be interesting to see how the Lakers respond on Thursday night against the Spurs.

If they are flat again, Kupchak may be pushed into action.

  1. loungefly74 - Feb 1, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    here’s to hoping for a better 2nd half. As a Laker fan, i try not to get worked up when the team is not clicking mid-season. they obviously have the talent to go to the finals…but yeah, they need a good kick in the butt from phil jackson at some point.

  2. passerby23 - Feb 1, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    If you can read between the lines of Kupchak’s comments, he’s really saying “We will trade you if you don’t get your ass in gear.” Nobody is really going anywhere. It’s a veiled threat, calling out guys who make a lot of money and aren’t producing. The question becomes, what do you do with this roster if they don’t get to the finals? Blow it up?

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Got to love Lakers fans. Only they win back-to-back titles and if they don’t make it to the finals have serious talks about blowing up the roster.

      • ibejeph - Feb 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        haha…it’s funny cause it’s true…

  3. dolphinatic - Feb 1, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Just putting on a show for the crowd. Thats how the lake show does it. Take the crowd for a ride, wow them at the end.

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