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Lakers GM Kupchak didn’t think Howard trade would happen, either

Aug 21, 2012, 12:30 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Mitch Kupchak AP

You think you were frustrated during the Dwightmare…

The Lakers wanted to land Dwight Howard — it was the one guy they would move Andrew Bynum to get and see it as an upgrade, and Bynum’s value might never be higher — so they were in. They talked to Rob Hennigan (the young Orland GM) and the Magic starting July. 1

But speaking in some detail about how the trade came together to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Kupchak said he was frustrated and thought all this work would be fruitless, too.

“I just never felt that there was a deal that (the Magic) thought that they would do,” Kupchak said. “Without going into great detail, I just felt the Magic were just canvassing the league, which is the job. … I didn’t think there would be a deal. It got really quiet a couple weeks ago. Before that, it was very crazy – and then it just died. So we had kind of moved on.

“We had signed Jordan Hill. We had signed Antawn Jamison. And we thought it was over.”

The Lakers were going to come back with Steve Nash at the point and the same cast of characters. And they would have been better. But they would not have instantly been better than the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now, with Howard, they may well be. The Thunder have proved how good they can be (and they should be better, they have young improving stars). Meanwhile this new Lakers core has yet to prove they can pull it all together, yet to prove that Howard’s back (and Nash’s back and Kobe Bryant’s knees) will hold up for the campaign.

But the Lakers have to be mentioned as title contenders now. And no GM had a better summer than Mitch Kupchak. Even if he wasn’t convinced it would work out.

  1. lakerluver - Aug 21, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    And I’m still smiling!!

  2. money2long - Aug 21, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    i want you guys to look up the elimination game between the magic and cavs when lebron was still there. this was a playoff game in which was a closeout for the magic. dwight howard dropped 40 points i believe and completely dominated lebron’s team. i think the closer to the season we get , people will suddenly start to realize how big a trade this was. i don’t think it has sunk in yet. i just hope he gets healthy in time. and truthfully, i want him to take his time because the lakers can hold it down in the meantime and it gives more room for the fresh new lakers to receive extra minutes which can only help them get acclimated to their new team.

    • ashot324 - Aug 21, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      You are 100% correct. People don’t realize that Howard has dominated Miami while being the only threat on his team. Now he’s on a team with multiple threats that add up to be nearly impossible to stop. This is just on the offensive end. Now imagine the defensive boost. Miami is a horrible jump shooting team because Lebron and wade live off of driving and dunking. This is partly why Howard has been so dominant against Miami. They drive into his paint and either get rejected or change the shot enough to cause a miss. Now throw in all the other threats the lakers have in nash Kobe pau Jamison (metta on defense) etc and this laker team seems impossible to stop on paper. We’ll see how it works out in reality but if they live up the potential they should be unguardable and simply dominant.

      • eventhorizon04 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:32 AM

        Actually, the Howard-led Magic did not “dominate” Miami.
        Last year, his team went 2-2. The year before, the Magic also went 2-2.

        4-4 is not dominating.

        Also, you forget that part of driving to the basket is generating fouls. The Heat traditionally have beaten Howard by driving to the basket and drawing fouls, as well as collapsing into the paint, forcing Howard to pass the ball out to the outside shooters. The only good 3 point shooter (Kobe is 33%) on the Lakers roster is Nash, while Miami had to deal with 2 or more Orlando starters who shot 40%.

        Lakers v Miami will be fun to watch, but don’t pretend it’s as simple as “Howard can block shots so Miami can’t score.”

      • eventhorizon04 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:37 AM

        Between Mike Miller (NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers ever in a Finals game by a bench players),
        Ray Allen (NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers ever in a Finals game by any player and all-time leader in 3-point shots made),
        James Jones (who won the 3-point shooting contest in 2011), and
        Mario Chalmers (who was invited to the 3-point shooting contest in 2012), Miami has plenty of jump shooters, so you are 100% incorrect about Miami being a “horrible” jump shooting team just because two stars (Wade and LeBron) prefer to drive to the basket.

      • dls612 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM

        Why is it that Miami gets mentioned in every Lakers fan comment . Even when it has nothing to do with them! Focus on getting out the west while we focus on getting out the east! Wade and LeBron are not strangers to Howard and I can’t remember any game where he shut them down from getting to the rim! It’s not like he can camp out under the basket!

      • tsi431 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:35 AM

        dls612 ,

        Its simple, no team plays for 2nd place. You play to win it all. If you want to win, you have to beat the best, in this case the defending champions are the Miami Heat.

      • money2long - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:52 AM


        would it be better if lakers fans talked about how we’ll get by the kings?
        or bobcats?
        or the bucks?

        like, forreal, don’t get too full of yourself (and i’m assuming) your favorite team miami. don’t make it seem as if lakers fans are somewhat infatuated or mesmerized by them. like tsi431 so astutely pointed out:

        “If you want to win, you have to beat the best… the defending champions are the Miami Heat.”

        that’s all. trust us, if it were the celtics or spurs who won it all last season, and lebron just happened to fizzle out and lose b4 even gettin to the finals like in yrs past, the convo would be how to get through Doc’s boys or Pop’s team.

        when jordan won, people weren’t talking about getting through patrick ewing’s team. and before jordan won, jordan was talking about getting through the bad boy pistons. it’s just the cycle and i hope you understand that.

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      Yeah, LeBron in 2012 is the same player as LeBron in 2008, and the Miami Heat is just as talent-less as the 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers, since Mo Williams + scrubs = Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, etc…..

  3. manotas211 - Aug 21, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Here we go Lakers.

  4. oms0004 - Aug 21, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    In retrospect, I find it comical that Stern nixed the CP3 trade.

    • money2long - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      you’re right. if it wasn’t for stern we wouldn’t still have pau.
      and i’m not certain LA would still have the picks that landed nash.

  5. shockexchange - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    Yeah, who would have thought that Orlando would have virtually handed the ‘chip to L,A,? The right trade would have been for Pau Gasol / Andrew Bynum at the same ____ time.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      i think everybody and their mama knew giving up gasol/bynum was too much for howard. the magic would have taken it but LA would have never done it. well, another savy move by the LA front office.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

        gasol/bynum for howard would have been a fair trade. bynum for howard is a complete steal and why don’t you guys just admit it and move on instead of arguing a point that is against common sense? Oh yeah, you are Lackers fans.

      • loungefly74 - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        no…as much as you like to think (and going against what EVERY GM/owner/analyst thinks)…bynum + gasol is too much for howard…everybody knows that…not sure how you think that it is a fair trade. i think you are underselling gasol bigtime…
        …of course its an upgrade for the Lakers. how often are trades done where each team gets equal value? yes…as a Laker fan, i am happy, why not? but don’t act like we gave up chump change for this to happen. bynum is the 2nd best center in the league.
        i see this trade like getting 2013 BMW 750i while turning in your 2012 BMW 750i…make sense?

  6. superseahawk - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    This season is going to be huge. Love him or hate him, David Stern has the NBA in a great spot right now.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Here’s what really cracks me up about you Lakers fans. The same exact people will post the following two things, without realizing just how stupid and contradictory they sound…

    Post 1…
    “This was a completely fair trade…Bynum is the second best center so he isn’t that far off from Howard. Plus, Howard has a back problem and who knows if he is going to be as good as he was. Bynum is better than Howard offensively anyway, so the Lakers didn’t really fleece the Magic in this deal the way you are saying.”

    Post 2…

    • escapingexile - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Maybe it’s because I am a Laker fan, and by definition that makes me stupid (unable to grasp the point you are trying to make) and contradictory (heck, I’m always down for a battle of the minds) but what are you even trying to say here? The only thing I can figure is your “stupid and contradictory” is somehow referring to how on one hand can you say Bynum isn’t that far behind and on the other hand we are over the top…. Is that what you were going for? Just my opinion, but who is to say what this commenter felt that we needed to be pushed over the top? If the commenter felt we were right there already with the acquisitions of Nash, Jamison and others, wouldn’t any improvement at all by their own definition “put us over the top”?
      Let me break it down for you and explain the thinking here, or at least what I think the consensus opinion is in L.A.: When the commenter says that Bynum is better offensively, I would argue that they are referring to the repertoire of post moves that he has opposed to Howard. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would argue against that, so let’s move on. Bynum IS the second best center in the league. Nope, no arguments there either, so continuing on. Did the Lakers fleece the Magic? Eh…. That’s up for debate. But they had plenty of time to choose an offer and this is what they chose. That’s not yours or mine or anyone’s decision other than their GM. It’s impossible to really say either way until the draft picks pan themselves out, so it’s really a non-point right now.
      As far as the second post, mind you this is all hypothetical at this point since we have to see how it plays out, I think the difference between the two is not so much in their respective skill sets, but how their individual skill sets mesh within the rest of the pieces on the team. When you have a penetrating, pick and roll PG, what you really don’t need is a Bynum lumbering around and clogging up the lane. What you do need is someone athletic who can get out to the top of the key and run it with him. When you have a PG who is going to get torched on the defensive side of the floor, what you don’t need is a guy who shows up half the time when he has deemed he is getting enough touches on the other end of the floor. What you do need is the defensive player of the year.
      This is how the Lakers have been pushed over the top. It’s not that there is a huge gap between Howard and Bynum so much as it is that Howard fits infinitely better with the parts we have. Any questions?

      • loungefly74 - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:51 AM

        Chris Fiorentino just got schooled BIG TIME!!!!!!!!! damn…that was brutal. talk about giving one helluva retort. nice explanation, escapingexile.
        that was like “Buster” Douglas (instead of stephen douglas) going up against Abe Lincoln in a debate…(alright, a little nerdy there by my part but you get the point…)

      • escapingexile - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        Thanks loungefly. I find myself reading these boards early in the morning because I do enjoy reading the perspective of others. However, at 530 in the morning I have a low tolerance for ignorance. The ignorance in this case was the poorly worded “Here’s what really cracks me up about you Lakers fans”…. I wish others would expand their minds a bit and really try to understand what people mean from the point of view in which they are writing. In this instance, in my opinion, it was a fairly obvious observation. But when such a wide net was cast by saying “you Lakers fans”, implying the entire fan base, I felt the need to respond on behalf of our “stupid” and “contradictory” fan base. Had it been worded as some Laker fans, or heck, some people would’ve worked for that matter, I would have moved along to the next article. Generalizations and stereotypes are my pet peeves. I do appreciate the infusion of sports into history though, two of my favorite subjects.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        You over-analyzed my entire post, but that is OK. I am glad to read something with intelligence instead of over-the-top hyperbole.

        To start with, let’s just look at the two simple things I said. Let’s not over-analyze them.

        First, was the trade fair? You said “Did the Lakers fleece the Magic? Eh…. That’s up for debate. But they had plenty of time to choose an offer and this is what they chose. That’s not yours or mine or anyone’s decision other than their GM. It’s impossible to really say either way until the draft picks pan themselves out, so it’s really a non-point right now.”

        Ludicrous. Nonsense. Come on…take off the Lakers blinders and talk the truth. The Lakers fleeced the Magic. What you are trying to say is that if the 30th pick in the 2017 draft is the next Michael Jordan, that doesn’t make this trade more fair. You guys keep spewing out this nonsense trying to make the trade sound fair, when in fact, the Lakers stole Dwight Howard…again, and all-time center. They gave up a guy who may be the 2nd best center in the NBA, but the difference between them is as large as the Grand Canyon…

        If it were not, then the same fans wouldn’t be talking about winning the next 3 titles. Your argument that Howard fits the Lakers more than Bynum has some merit, but not enough to outweigh the fact that the Lakers fleeced the Magic.

        So, overall, I disagree completely with your point #1, but admit that your point #2 has merit.

        For loungefly74, you sound like that jock-sniffer Spike Lee. Is that you, Spike?

  8. clevelandschronic2 - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Hey to u laker fans. Howard wont come remotely close to 40 points this year. Or any year he is on the lakers. 1 word=kobe. If kobe could learn to pass instead of shooting id say this team could win it all. But it wont happen cuz of kobe. Even tho nash is there he cant fix kobe being a selfish ball hog. This is gonna b one epic collapse. N it’ll get worse when howard gets pissed at kobe for being the selfish player he is and walks to brooklyn or dallas next year. Howard got angry in orlando when he didnt get the ball enough and he was the best on tht team. Jus like he is now wit la. Gonna b great to watch this fail

  9. paulhargis53 - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    escaping: You’re right, his mistake was generalizing the whole fan base. It’s actually only about 95% that are over the top, head in the,sand, know nothing blowhards.

    Lakersucker, malt and lounge lead the way on that.
    What I get a kick out of is lounge is always doling out congrats to other posters for “beatdowns”. He’s too ignorant to do it himself.

    You must admit escaping, that some of your fellow fans are quite annoying. You at least, seem to have some intelligence. That’s a breath of fresh air on Lakers postings. You should try to impart some of that to the above mentioned turds.

    • manchestermiracle - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Right, Paul, and you only posting whiny, bitching/pissing/moaning screeds about how much you hate a particular fan base and its team isn’t annoying in any way. I’ve yet to read a single thing by you on here that isn’t all about negativity towards the one team you obviously envy. You sound like the moron going postal on how shitty a movie is, and then standing in line for another ticket. If you don’t like a comment why not just move on? Your maturity level must be as low as your negative mentality. Try getting out of momma’s basement and finding something constructive to do.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      @escapingexile – pay no mind to paulhargis53. the child has clearly stated he only posts on Laker articles to “rile up the fanbase” or to get in under their skin. he has been exposed for being a fraud…an “anti-fan” if you will…
      @ph53 – why do i need to add anything when someone else has said it all? at that point, all you can do is agree. no need to add wood to the fire. he beat me to the punch…
      of course, i have given you a fair share of smackdowns…you know that!

  10. isujames - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    I didn’t think Kupcake could pull this off either,enjoy him for this year laker fanatics

  11. isujames - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Howard for Gasol and Bynum would have been a fair trade.

  12. blaksteele - Aug 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I know Kupchak played for Carolina back in the day, but damn, I didn’t know he was that tall. He’s almost eye level with Dwight.

    • gnowk9 - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      Mitch Kupchak is 6′ 10″ if I remember correctly, he had a severe knee injury, that ended his career early. He played 4 or 5 years only. He was a pretty good player before his injury

  13. paulhargis53 - Aug 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Yet you keep responding to me. You are a very week minded person.

    Stating a different opinion than mine, is not administering a “smackdown”. What color is the sky in your world dude?
    The only beatdowns you hand out is to yourself on a nightly basis.

  14. deshackle - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Orlando should’ve received Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum in return for Dwight Howard.

    • gnowk9 - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      You wish, why not trade the whole Lakers team for Dwight? Even when Kareem was treaded to the Lakers for a few unknown players and a few draft choices. You mean to tell me Dwight is better than Kareem?

  15. fanz928 - Aug 21, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Thinking about this trade makes me think that the magic gm is retarded he could have got 3 first round protected Lopez all the low salary players and Brooks then sign lopez to max and trade him for picks

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