HoopsHype Mitch Kupchak rumors

May 17, 2014 Updates

Bryant has recently alluded toward the Lakers’ failure to seek his approval on the last two coaching hires. The Lakers did not consult with Bryant on Brown. But Bryant reported in 2012 telling executive Jim Buss he considered D’Antoni his top choice before realizing Phil Jackson was a candidate. “The decisions will be made by Jim Buss, myself and the basketball operations people,” Kupchak said. “From time to time, I’ll go to Kobe and we talk about a lot of different things. But he will not make the decision, nor does he want to be part of hiring a coach.” Long Beach Press-Telegram

May 12, 2014 Updates

Q: You’ve been criticized for the contract extension that was given to Bryant. How does it factor into the way you build this team over the next two seasons, with salary cap implications and so on, and how would things look different if you’d given him less money? Mitch Kupchak: When we gave Kobe the extension, we took a lot of factors into consideration, including the factors you just mentioned. We felt it was the thing to do. We’re still in a position to be a big player in the free agent market. Signing Kobe when we did, we felt, gave us one of the top two or three free agents that would be available this summer. We had the rare opportunity to get that done and not have to wait until July 1. Everybody can debate whether they would have waited or not, but our mindset was: ‘This is somebody we can get done now, and we still have a chance to be a player financially with free agency.’ Cap space is valuable and you don’t want to misuse it. You do have to use it, but you don’t have to use it going forward unless you want to. NBA.com

Q: Does that pull any focus away from the draft? Mitch Kupchak: Yeah, but as you mentioned, May 20 is the lottery, and it’s hard to focus 100% on the draft until you know where you’re drafting. If the stars all line up and you get No. 1 instead of No. 9, there’s a difference, and it’s impossible to schedule workouts because the agents won’t cooperate until they know where you’re drafting. That part of it has proved uneventful, and probably won’t change until the 20th. We are working on setting up some interviews, and we’ve been successful, but you’re not going to really get moving on it until the agents know where you’re drafting. NBA.com

Q: So if an agent thinks his client is going to be drafted in the Top 3, he’s not going to arrange a workout with a team drafting sixth or seventh? Mitch Kupchak: That’s right. Every agent has a different approach to his player. For example, if he thinks his player is a top 10 or 15 pick, he may be happy with that and not work out for anybody. Having said that, players that may or may not be first round picks want to come work out, because they want to prove to you that they’re better than where they are projected. They may not be happy being a projected second round pick and feel they have nothing to lose. The draft order is the most important thing right now. NBA.com

Q: To shift over to the coaching vacancy, does having only three players on the roster right now for next season change how you approach the hire? Mitch Kupchak: You do take into consideration the make up of your roster. Although I won’t rule out hiring a coach prior to the lottery on May 20, I think it’s likely that we don’t, because that’s really the first step in terms of additional information for this franchise. Let’s find out what kind of pick we have. That may even help us decide what direction to go with for our coach. It will be a consideration. NBA.com

May 8, 2014 Updates

Williams cooled down the Lakers rumors, first reported by the Los Angeles Times earlier this week, by telling Fox Sports Radio host J.T. The Brick that he has no interest in following many of his former players into the NBA. “I’ve always felt that I’m a college coach and that’s where I belong,” he said. The UNC coach was asked about the Lakers job during an interview promoting an upcoming Coaches Vs. Cancer charity event in Las Vegas. The Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak is a UNC graduate who has a close relationship with Williams. “Mitch Kupchak is one of my best friends in the whole wide world, there’s no question there. But I’m a college guy,” Williams said. “If somebody calls and offers me the greatest job in the world, it better be really good because I feel like I’ve got about the greatest job in the world.” Wilmington NC News

May 7, 2014 Updates
April 30, 2014 Updates

Mike Trudell: The Lakers declined to pick up the option year (2015-16) on Mike D’Antoni’s contract, as D’Antoni and his agent had requested. D’Antoni met with Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss at the team’s facility, where the conversation resulting in D’Antoni resigning took place. Twitter @LakersReporter

April 20, 2014 Updates

For her part, Jeanie uses the word "empowering" to describe the current situation with Jim, and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, trying to fix the basketball side of the franchise. "Jim has assured me that they have a plan in place, that the team will be better next year and we will be back in contention shortly," Jeanie said. "He's very confident in that plan and so I have to believe he knows what he's doing and what he's trying to accomplish. We have to be patient and give him that opportunity." Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2014 Updates

As the team tries to retool its roster, Jim continues to work closely with Kupchak, who sounds out ideas with Buss before they arrive at a decision. Buss and Kupchak were torn on what to do with veteran Pau Gasol as the NBA trade deadline approached in February and the team lagged in the standings. Buss was fine with trading him, Kupchak wasn't so sure. In the end, the Lakers were never offered more than a second-round draft pick for the aging star, a pittance in their mind. And they didn't want to seem like they were dumping Gasol's $19.3-million salary for nothing. "Mitch wins a lot more of these battles than people imagine," said an agent who asked not to be identified because he deals with the Lakers. "They respect his caution." Los Angeles Times

April 18, 2014 Updates

Mitch Kupchak talked in-depth about Kobe Bryant's early vacation, Steve Nash's poor health, Pau Gasol's free agency and the Los Angeles Lakers' high draft pick on Friday. But one subject the Lakers general manager provided little clarity into is the future of coach Mike D'Antoni. Kupchak said he and Lakers president Jim Buss will meet with D'Antoni in the "near future," but didn't give a specific timeline for either the meeting or a decision on D'Antoni's future. Kupchak said D'Antoni is under contract for two more seasons, but wasn't definitive in answering whether D'Antoni would be the coach next season. Kupchak and D'Antoni had exit interviews with players on Thursday and Friday, but did not discuss D'Antoni's future. "Mike is under contract for two more years," Kupchak said. "If anything changes, we will let you know." Yahoo! Sports

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