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Lakers GM says no regrets about Nash. What else is he going to say?

Feb 14, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

When Steve Nash played in his 10th game of the season this week — which took the medical retirement off the table, his $9.5 million will be paid by the Lakers one way or another now — there were a number of Lakers fans upset with that. They thought Nash was selfish for not putting the good of the franchise ahead of himself, while those same fans were selfishly putting what they think is best for he franchise ahead of Nash (he’s a player who wants to play, to blame him is selfish).

That said, the Nash gamble has not worked — he was brought in a year ago to quarterback a Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard contender, and we all know how that ended. He has battled injuries, playing in just 60 of the 135 games the Lakers have had since Nash signed, and in the ones he has played he has often looked his 40 years.

But Laker GM Mitch Kupchak told Dave McMenamin of  he has no regrets bringing Nash to Los Angeles.

“No regrets,” Kupchak said before the Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. “You have to recognize where you are as a franchise and we felt we had a two-year window, maybe three, to go for a championship and that’s what we did.

“Looking back on it, which nobody can do, that’s a different story. But at the time, we knew exactly what we were doing.”

First, what do you expect him to say?

Second, it was a good gamble — the Lakers were trying to assemble a fast contender for Kobe Bryant in the final years of his career (and they thought Howard would stay and be the face of the franchise) and if healthy Nash could have orchestrated the offense and spaced the floor with his shooting. Injuries and an abrupt and radical coaching shift midseason doomed that team. That doesn’t mean it was a bad gamble.

It is possible the Lakers use the stretch provision on Nash, allowing them to let him go and spread the pain of his salary out over three seasons. Don’t bet on it, however. The Lakers are not going to use that extra cap space this summer (LeBron James isn’t coming, nor is Carmelo Anthony) and they would rather just get him off the books completely and have more money to go after their more realistic targets in 2015 and 2016.

  1. bucrightoff - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Trading for Nash or trading for Howard…not really sure what was worse. But both those moves are horrific. The Nash one is worse though because those first round picks are desperately needed to replenish an aging rostes that lacks talent. The Howard trade was a worthwhile gamble, as getting an in his prime top 3 big man is very difficult to do. An aging over the hill PG who can’t defend and can’t only shoot threes? Pretty sure Jason Kidd was available at the time too.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      How is the Howard trade bad at all? What has Andrew Bynum done to justify the trade as bad?

      • bucrightoff - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Oh I agree Bynum is a bum. But at the time he was dealt he had high trade value (hence why the Lakers were able to pretty much only trade him to get Howard). The Lakers could have flipped Bynum for players that might still be on their roster rather than a guy who bolted right away.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        It looks bad only because Howard gave the Lakers the impression he wanted to come there. All he wanted to do was get out of Orlando, rehab his back while being paid $20 million and then leave because he didn’t want the pressure of being the next Hall of Fame big man on the Lakers. Had the Lakers known Howard was a two-faced POS I’m sure they would have moved Bynum for players who actually wanted to wear their uniform.

  2. jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    He probably regrets that the Clippers have become L.A.’s elite team and that the Lakers are about to set their all time losing streak at home record.

    • Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      You ain’t “elite” in L.A. until you win something. Dunk contests and benefiting from Stern’s meddling don’t count.

  3. davidly - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Had they kept the team in tact and hired Shaw, they would’ve made it back to the conference finals, maybe even back to the finals, Odom wouldn’t have ruined his life, Kobe wouldn’t have gotten injured at the end of last season, and Nash would’ve retired in Phoenix with dignity. Funny thing, fate.

    • shuttaman1990 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Seriously not hiring shaw was the begining of the end.
      Seriously jim buss had to be stupid and mess things up.
      He’s the worst son someone could have in terms of taking care of what you gave sweat and tears for.
      He needs to be removed ASAP!

      Lakers all day.

      • sumkat - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        lol, “He’s the worst son someone could have”

        Harsh dude, just harsh

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        LOL I know!! S hit man, shutta went in low and held no punches back LOL! Dayyyuuumm! **making stinkface**

    • shuttaman1990 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      @ sumkat not hars when its in terms of taking care of what you gave sweat and tears for.

      If Jim was not interested in running the Lakers than he should just have backed off and let someone else or Jeannie Buss run it.

      Jerry probably rolling in his grave now.

    • TheMorningStar - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Conference Finals?? Gimme a break…where are you writing this comment, FantasyLand?

      Typical nonsensical comment from a Laker fan.

      • davidly - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        No, I’m not a Laker fan. I’m somebody who watched them go to the conference finals and then blow it up to rebuild.

  4. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    The championship window for Kobe slammed shut this past summet when Howard bolted to Houston.

    Its jammed shut for the franchise for about another 5-10 years.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Better than having it permanently closed like the Brooklyn Nest.

  5. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Vanessa Monetti, the Nets will be in the playoffs this year, at least they have a chance at it. Anyway, bag on the franchise all you like, once Garnett retires, I no longer am a Nets fan.

    That you don’t get Howard moving on made that trade bad speaks volumes of your knowledge.

    Stick to defending your husband Kobe.

    • zerole00 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      I don’t think paying 180M for a roster that is going to be a 6-7th seed in the EAST is much of a saving grace.

  6. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Evidently Shutta hasn’t looked in the mirror regarding the worst son comment.

  7. pbinlostangeles - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    I continue to be surprised at how few people – particularly those in the journalistic world – miss dumping the blame for what has become an mediocre “international league” squarely onto the person whose “vision” for the NBA has all but destroyed our American sport of professional basketball; of course its David Stern.
    Stern’s “vision” for the NBA has left us with a team in darn near every community (Except Seattle) in the country, with designs on buck-making foreign franchises. This has left the true fan with a saturated “talent pool” of teams containing guys who wouldn’t even have made rosters, as recently as the 1980’s.
    The best way this downtrodden dynamic can be exemplified is in a very simple formulae:
    Ask yourself this question; In the current NBA, how many top-team rosters are but one injury away from mediocrity? – Answer? Three – Clippers, San Antonio, and Indiana.
    If Durant weren’t having an MVP season, without Westbrook, OKC would be mid-pack; and the upcoming draft? There are no players available who could make a ten or fifteen game win column difference, in the Lakers’ season even if Jackson and Riley were on the Lakers’ bench, and coaching together.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      So you believe the sport was in better shape before Stern became commissioner in 1984?

  8. lakerade - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Since we’re doing all this looking backwards, Nash actually was supposed to be CP3. Without a doubt acquiring Nash was a backup option, but not bad for an on-the-fly move. His injuries have been unfortunate, but as a Laker fan I feel it still worked out bc Howard’s mental meekness was exposed earlier as a result. Whew!

  9. billtetley53 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    zerole: Uhh, they are 3.5 games back of the Raptors, with about 30 games to go.
    That ensures them a 4 seed. They are playing pretty well as of late. I doubt they make the finals, but all you need is to get in.

    Keep praying for losses(better hope Kobe sits out the year, he won’t play to lose)

  10. antistratfordian - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    I really don’t understand how Kupchak expected Nash to work out knowing that Kobe likes to dominate the ball. Not only that, but they were in desperate need of young legs and defense at the point… so they bring in a player who fits that description the least?

    After Phil Jackson left the Lakers have made several head scratching moves. One after the other.

    • therealhtj - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Most Lakers fans knew the Nash deal could go south in a hurry because of his age. Most Laker haters were counting on it. Neither thought it could’ve been this bad.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        Very well put.

        It could’ve worked out for the Lakers if Kobe, Howard, Pau, and Nash stayed healthy all of last year, and if Kobe was willing to play off the ball more, and if Howard was willing to focus on getting his points as the roll man in the pick and roll rather than trying to become a low-post scorer, and if Pau were more comfortable playing outside of the low-post.

        However, Howard was playing injured most of the year, Kobe suffered a severe injury late in the year, and both Pau and Nash were in and out of the lineup due to injuries. Kobe wasn’t comfortable playing without the ball, and Howard didn’t want to settle for being a screen setter on offense. Last but not least, Gasol’s effectiveness dropped when asked to play outside of the low-post to try to give Howard room to operate.

        The Lakers never could get it all to fit.

  11. billtetley53 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    What exactly have you “won” professor?
    You’ve watched other men win things.

    Why are a majority of you Lakers fans such whining, crying b****es?

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