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Report: Lakers to give GM Mitch Kupchak contract extension

Apr 9, 2014, 2:07 AM EDT

Mitch Kupchak Mitch Kupchak

Mitch Kupchak has been the Lakers’ general manager for 14 years, he’s swung big trades that led to titles (Pau Gasol) and made big moves that ended in a train wreck (Dwight Howard), but he’s been right more than wrong. He has won four rings from that chair. More importantly to the Buss family, he has been a loyal Laker employee — when Lakers season ticket holders have been frustrated and want to vent it is Kupchak that has to stand out there on the stage and essentially get pelted with tomatoes.

Kupchak has rebuilt this franchise into a contender once — after Shaquille O’Neal was shipped out of town — and ownership is going to trust him to do it again.

The Lakers are about to give Kupchak a multi-year contract extension reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a multiyear extension with general manager Mitch Kupchak, sources with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday night…

This new extension will keep him as the Lakers general manager for several years beyond what he was already under contract for.

With the Lakers in the midst of the worst season in franchise history, the extension for Kupchak solidifies his decision-making role and is a reflection of the esteem in which he is held by the Buss family.

Kupchak is widely considered to be one of the highest paid executives in the NBA (not quite Phil Jackson with the Knicks money, but who else would pay anyone that other than Dolan?).

Kupchak — once despised by many Lakers fans, at least until they got Jim Buss as a whipping boy — is now in charge of rebuilding a Lakers team having its worst season since moving to Los Angeles.

There is no doubt Kupchak can do the job — he has done it before — the better question is will he have the freedom to do it? Mike Brown was a hire made by Jim Buss, a situation that lasted just more than a season. Then came the Mike D’Antoni era and that was something Jim and Jerry Buss wanted (they have long wanted a return to the Showtime era). Does Mitch get to pick the next guy? Will he have the freedom to make the roster moves he wants?

No doubt he wants to go big game hunting and get the superstar who will be the next face of the Lakers after Kobe Bryant. At some point he and the Lakers will land someone. Kupchak tends to work quietly and pounce when it is not expected (remember the Gasol trade? The Howard trade?) but the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and the way it ties the hands of tax paying teams will make it a tougher task than ever to keep the Lakers on top.

At least Kupchak gets to stay on the job.

  1. bikerboy24 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:48 AM

    Well deserved. Hopefully Jimmy will give him more space in the decision making process.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      One of the best GMs in the NBA. Glad to have him guiding the ship

  2. joshm5683 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    I’m glad they are bringing him back. He does bring some sort of stability that is needed within an organization that is in chaos at the moment. I feel people dont’ like giving him his due, just because he is GM of the Lakers and in LA that it somehow overshadows his abilities, but he is definitely 1 of the best in the league.

  3. aboogy123456 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    I love reading interviews with Mitch, as you can see that he is very level headed and logical about making decisions. He doesn’t play around or make panic moves. Lakers have one of the best GM’s and I’m glad he’s sticking around.

  4. dman6015 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Glad to see “Cupcake” given another chance.

  5. unxpexted1 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Now if only Jimmy let’s him do his job

  6. cruzan80 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    The Pau Gasol trade he pulled off convinced me that anyone can be traded to anywehere for anyone. Thats how good a trade that was for the Lakers…this…..is money well spent.

  7. 00maltliquor - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    This makes me very happy. Thanks Jimmy and congrats Mitch. Try not to lose all your hair within these next two seasons.

  8. 00maltliquor - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Wait a minute……when was Kupchak ever dispised by Laker fans!?? I swear KH be killing me with his fantasy world perception of us Laker fans. I’ve never heard any Laker fan speak ill of Mitch.

  9. adoombray - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Kupchak is a glorified secretary. Jimmy Bust is making the personnel calls now.

  10. chargerdillon - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Let’s not forget he almost pulled off bringing Chris Paul to the Lakers if the deal hadn’t been blocked by the crooked commissioner.

    The current collapse of the Lakers has as much to do with David Stern forcing the league to put the Lakers in this situation.

    Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were NEVER PLAN A.

    Stern created this shady act and then quietly washed his hands of all the crooked acts he did.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      No. CP3 was plan A1 and D12 was plan A2. Nash was plan B.

    • fpstratton - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Yes, that is true. The Chris Paul deal would have changed everything and made up for a lot of other personnel mistakes and the disastrous hire known as Mike d’Antoni.

  11. fpstratton - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    I like Mitch Kupchak and am glad that he will continue to be the Lakers’ GM, but as long as they have the same owners, the result will be bad. They should write a book, “How to turn a 50-win team into a 25-win team in five easy steps.” Jeannie doesn’t really seem to care at this point now that Phil is out of the picture. She is speaking the company line, and her brother has ruined the team.

  12. haaaaasoooooo - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Mistake.

  13. scbaby2013 - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Good move now let him do his job jimmy

  14. dablakdrphil - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    This is a great move ONLY if Jim Buss lets Kupchak actually do his job and take a step back. Us Laker fans have ZERO faith in Jim

  15. tonyman262 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    It’s just to bad we can’t trade Jim Buss for Jeanie Buss.

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe Jim is a Laker through & through.
    He should be doing TV contracts, or maybe plotting family investments beyond their Laker holdings.
    Jeanie should be doing basketball operations.

    I have no idea if she knows more about personnel but based on her success with the business side of the family business, it appears she would allow her basketball people to make basketball decisions.

    Does anyone doubt she would not have allowed Phil Jackson to get away? How do you allow possibly the greatest currently living basketball mind in the business, certainly the greatest proven coach in basketball to get away?
    Poor personnel decision

    I also doubt she would have pushed Dwight to play before he was ready to play. Howard was possibly the best center in the league, but was injured, coerced to play while injured and NOT shielded from the media because his performance was not the same as when healthy.
    Poor personnel handling.

    I believe those two failures contributed to the Lakers needing to offer Kobe more money than even he was expecting. Kobe was prepared to accept less money. If Kobe would have been offered less money then Gasol would also accept less money, increasing the chances of landing a 3rd and maybe a 4th quality player to play with Kobe and Gasol (along with Howard on the court and Jackson on the sideline) and competing for another ring instead of competing for a lottery pick.
    Poor personnel decisions: results, no center, no real coach.

    Lastly, with Jim Buss’s desire to return to show-time is how the Lakers misused the talent they had.
    The Lakers had largest front line in the league and ran them like they were all 6″7′ or 6″8′ players.
    How do you let go of Shannon Brown, Matt Barns, Ramon Sessions, and Lamar Odom?
    Poor personnel decisions: results, no bench.

    Forget what has happened to Odom recently, remember he had just been the 6th Man of the Year the previous year. Yeah, I know he was pissed about being in the trade failure of Chris Paul.
    But with that failure it was even more important to hold on to Odom. Let him vent, patch up the hurt feelings, but keep him.
    Poor personnel decision: results, no glue player that can run with the 1st team or lead the 2nd team.

    The only thing that hides how inept the player decisions have been is the rash of injuries that have happened. Now injuries are the excuse. Remember that when Kobe went down with the Achilles injury, the Lakers were fighting for the very LAST playoff spot at that time. So it wasn’t the injuries that put the Lakers in the position of last place. The Lakers had no bench, and still don’t. Only now they have no real 1st team either.

    While there was a bit of bad luck (Chris Paul), it has mostly been a comedy of personnel decisions that has resulted in the Lakers being what they are today. And just like during the Shaq mess, the Laker front office is allowing Kobe is being blamed again in the media. But this time for accepting the stupid money that was offered to him. How many people in the world would turn their back on $48M?

    Mitch is obviously a wealthy person and doesn’t need the money to maintain his life style.
    It is my hope that he can challenge the silly decisions that are made above his pay grade.
    Remember as much as Mitch is loved and appreciated his is still an employee and not quite family.
    Few people question his basketball acumen anymore, it’s his ability to influence those above him is where his real challenges are if the Lakers are to return to respectability.

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