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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak releases statement on rumors

Feb 20, 2012, 10:12 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant wanted Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak to make up his mind — either trade Pau Gasol or say you’re not going to. Which is completely unrealistic, but it plays well in the locker room so he said it.

That was enough to get a rare public statement from Kupchak:

“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”

Mitch is spot on. It’s also complete GM speak. It’s what 29 other GMs would say in his shoes.

The Lakers as constructed are not title contenders. They need depth and a real point guard. They have two real assets other teams care about. First, the trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade to Dallas (meaning the Lakers can take on $8.9 million salary without sending any back).

The second is Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. So they will talk to teams about those two. But note this tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on Monday:

In calling around to front offices today, there sure didn’t seem to be any on-going trade conversations involving Pau Gasol….That doesn’t mean talks aren’t happening, but teams seem convinced Lakers only want a major talent in return — not several lesser parts.

Exactly. The Lakers want to win another ring with Kobe, and Gasol is a guy who has proven valuable in the NBA finals. It’s one thing to ship him out in a deal that nets Chris Paul, it’s something else to be talking Kyle Lowry or even Rajon Rondo. The Lakers are not doing that.

But the talk will continue. And Gasol better get used to it.

  1. velascochad - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    IMHO, Pau is not the problem. he is currently on his longest double-double streak ever as a laker (9 straight games).

    their biggest problem is their bench! (probably the worst bench for any contending team)

    and of course a quick point guard but it can be resolved if they give goudelock a chance to shine by giving him more minutes.

    as a lakers fan i hate to see pau gasol who played a major role for 2 titles leave.


    • c0achdesigns - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      the thing is, the Lakers are hard up getting a really good PG, or any solid backup in the roster without sending either Pau or Andrew. I just can’t wait ’til this drama is over. I bet Kupchack has something planned for the now of the franchise and its future.
      For Pau, we can see his focus is not really on the game right now, he is bothered by the trade rumors and all that. But he is still a Laker, he has to play like a Laker to keep his spot. Either should all the rest of the guys.

      • velascochad - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        yup i agree.

        thats why i think they should invest in goudelock.

        i still remember when rondo was still a so-so PG but come playoff time he suddenly became a big help for the celtics.

        i think goudelock has the potential. he just needs time to shine. well even diamonds starts as coal.

      • c0achdesigns - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:30 AM

        Goudelock, has potential. And by the looks of the bench(steve & matt) contributing to the big 3, it’s a win for the Lakers. Coach brown is slowly getting the feel of his players now. He is really getting the pieces together. Except for Metta, who is really on a slump season right now.

        We’ll just have to wait and see how this drama unfolds.

  2. chargerdillon - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    As a Laker fan maybe im biased about the on-court Pau. To me he’s solid gold, he plays tough all game long from a physical perspective.

    Mentally however he is really coming off as soft when it comes to business. That’s part of the game plain and simple.

    I don’t want to lose Pau, but at the same time I dont want to keep Pau and lose Pau in the process of him feeling butthurt much like Odom.

    Making no trades = 1 and done or 2 and done in the playoffs
    Making the wrong trade = Same result and making no trades
    Making the right trade = Same reult as above with the potential building for a title again next year

    Any way I see it, the Lakers are not built for a title run this year, they’re a PG and a bench away. I thought last year the Heat would dominate, I feel the same about this year.

    • c0achdesigns - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM

      and you were wrong about the solidness of the heat, why would it be any different this year?

      I agree on Pau. Andrew, Pau and Kobe are the core of the Lakers, a deeper bench would help plus a pure PG who can dish out and create his own shot. It’s inevitable more titles for the purple and gold.

    • smoothaswilkes - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:24 AM

      Really? Completely disagree.

      If the Lakers can some how pick up a PG like Sessions and get somebody like Beasley to score off the bench, then they are more viable to compete for a ring than you seem to realize.

      Look the Lakers need better players at PG and SF. Once that happens they can actually settle on rotations and, hopefully, minute distribution, which is causing the most havoc IMO.

      Brown’s ability as a coach has a lot to do with this roster too. He’s simply not been able to manage games or lineups. Hopefully that can be covered up by an influx of talent without trading any of the core.

      Short season means Lakers just need to get hot come Playoffs.

      Now about our Chargers…..

  3. klownboy - Feb 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    It’s over for the Lakers, and Kobe knows it…

    • loungefly74 - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:00 AM

      well…when you have been at the top 2 of the past 3 years (almost 3 of 4)…the only way is down…but haters such as you cant rationalize straight. ya see…you’re “blurred vision/anguish towards to the lakers make your point invalid. you forget…these are the Los Angeles Lakers we are talking about…they will do what it takes to stay in contention. like it or not. yeah, of course, they cant win the title EVERY year but to think they will go the way of the Sacramento Kings or Detroit Pistons is foolish. man, if you have been watching basketball and paying attention…you would know this…but no, because you hate the Lakers and when they show vulnerabilities, haters jump all over it like scavengers. please…really? i remember reading/hearing the same crap after the Celtics title run…yeah, look how that played out for the next couple years.
      the Lakers are a world class organization and the envy of the league. As a Laker fan, i love my team. yeah, we may not win it all this year but dont think for a second we arent trying to contend every year. i’m trying to think of another team that has had it better the past 10 years…Spurs maybe…but the Lakers dominate that talk.

      …please tell me who your team is…and i’ll give ya a laundry list of shortcomings much longer than the Lakers have had in the past decade.

  4. frankvzappa - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Irrelevant to the topic at hand, but hey Kurt, I happened to see you on the NBC network tonight, and you look like much less of a d-bag than you come off on this site. You should maybe try not being such a homer all the time and I bet it would work for you. Not like anybody will read this, since you fascist censors do your best to stop any thinking person from posting here. Calcaterra for president, at least he respects freedom of speech.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      what? damn dude…stop giving frank zappa a bad name.

  5. losangelasbasketball - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Uh… What will i do with my fake neck beard and gasol jersey now?

  6. therookie773 - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Why would telling the public whether or not Pau will be traded put them at any disadvantage or advantage? It’s not like you can keep it a secret once the trade happens, if anything having these rumors floating around is hurting the chemistry even more. The only possible scenario I see is that the ownership is just playing mind games with Gasol so that he toughens up even more and works harder.

  7. lemfax - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    Trade Bynum.

  8. schaffershokai - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    They wouldn’t be having these problems if the did this:

  9. omniusprime - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Maybe the Lakers need to get rid of Kupcake, he’s been pathetic this season at making trades and finding the players the Lakers need to win another title. Kudos to Pau for being made of sterner stuff than Odom, who was nothing but a crybaby about being traded. The best ting that could happen to the Lakers is to fire that pathetic excuse of a coach, Mike Brown.

  10. bobthis - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    It takes many components to get a championship run. Fischer has had a great career but he was done 2 years ago. Get a point guard. Artest really never contributed much to the Lakers. He got his ring and now he’s phoning it in. On a scale of 1 to 10 the bench is a generous 2. Clean house.

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