HoopsHype Mitch Kupchak rumors

April 17, 2014 Updates

Mike D'Antoni might have coached his last game with the Lakers on Wednesday. Or he might return for the final guaranteed year of his contract. It'll be the biggest subplot of a Lakers off-season sure to feature twists and turns. "We'll sit down with Mitch and Jim at the end of the year and reassess everything and see where we are and see what their thoughts are," D'Antoni said Wednesday, referring to Lakers executives Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. "I don't have any thoughts yet. The biggest thing was trying to get to the end of the year and we got that done. Now you go to the next step. Nothing has been talked about or said or looked at." Los Angeles Times

April 15, 2014 Updates
April 13, 2014 Updates

"I'm confident that over time, that we're going to be able to assemble a team that's competitive, fun to watch," he told USA TODAY Sports recently. "The advantages that this franchise and this city have always had remain, which is our fan base, it's a great city, players like playing here. There are a lot of diverse components of this city that attract players – the organization itself, its legacy. So those things don't change." Yet even Kupchak admits it might take a while. The league's new collective bargaining agreement limits the ability of cash-cow teams like the Lakers to simply spend their way out of the cellar, and their best player – Kobe Bryant – is coming off the two worst injuries of his storied career (Achilles tendon tear and left knee fracture) just in time to start playing on his new, two-year, $48.5 million contract extension. USA Today Sports

April 9, 2014 Updates

Because when he was asked about Mike last week, the perception was that he didn't go to bat for him publicly. That started the storyline of "Well, Mike's not coming back because it doesn't seem like Kobe wants him back." Mitch Kupchak: We won't consult with him. Our decisions going forward — we're not going to do knee-jerk stuff. We'll let the season end, and take some time. We've got a lot of injuries and surgeries to sort through. That's a lot to accomplish. We have the draft coming up? USA Today Sports

So how's Kobe going to handle that? Mitch Kupchak: He'll be fine. He's got no choice. He'll be fine. When we lose, he'll rant and rave and be upset and be hot and won't talk to anybody, but that's the way it is. You've got to take the good with the bad. USA Today Sports

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has agreed to a multiyear contract extension late in one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Los Angeles announced its new deal for Kupchak late in the fourth quarter of a 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets. Kupchak had one year left on his current contract. Yahoo! Sports

So that being said, Mitch, what's your outlook? Is it a situation where you have that experience from the past and you'll apply it here and move forward with confidence that this too shall pass, or where is your head at? Mitch Kupchak: I'm confident that over time, that we're going to be able to assemble a team that's competitive, fun to watch. The advantages that this franchise and this city have always had remain, which is our fan base, it's a great city, players like playing here, there are a lot of diverse components of this city that attract players. The organization itself, its legacy. So those things don't change. Now the collective bargaining agreement changed considerably (after the 2011 lockout) the playing field. That's just the way the owners wanted it, and as a manager all we've ever said is just give us the rules and we'll play with the rules. But for example, when we signed Shaquille O'Neal (in 1996), Orlando made an offer and we topped it, and then Orlando topped it, and then we traded two players and got more cap room and then we topped it. They could have topped our offer and they chose not to. USA Today Sports

But the fans are one thing. Does him being gone cut into your ability to get players' attention when it comes to the perception of the franchise now? Mitch Kupchak: You know something? I don't think players think that way. I was a player many, many years ago, and I didn't think that way. I knew who Dr. Buss was, but he wasn't really a factor other than he wanted me to come to L.A. At that point, he made a very fair offer and the city of Los Angeles — I was happy in Washington but I had the opportunity to come to L.A. Play with Magic, play with Kareem, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain. To me, that's what I thought about as a player. I didn't really say, 'Oh, it's Dr. Buss. I've got to go play for this guy. USA Today Sports

So on my short list of things to get clarity on is the dynamic between management and Kobe. You guys give him the extension, and I think the question a lot of people have now is that — because of what he has done for the organization, because of what you think he can do in the next couple of years — you do the extension but maybe Kobe doesn't still have the same voice that he had in the past and now it's time for the bosses to be the bosses. He's the one pressing the agenda, saying he's not going to wait and be patient (during a rebuild). Mitch Kupchak: Not really. Q: You don't think so? Mitch Kupchak: He had that one outburst, but I think he got caught up in all the sensation of the moment — is Phil going to stay or is he going to go? He wants the same thing we want, which is to win as much as possible as soon as possible. I meet with him. (It's) not on a regular basis, but in the last two or three months we have met several times, and he gets it. USA Today Sports

Was there any internal discussion about Phil coming back, and where did you stand on that? How did that go? Mitch Kupchak: Yeah. Yeah. I mean there was nothing formal. This went on for a year or two. Q: But the most recent one. A: Well I don't know when the most recent one was. We discussed a year or two ago about how could we — and this was Jimmy and I and I know he may have discussed it with his family — and it was open for discussion. And it was kind of a standing understanding, but I think Jeanie said it best two weeks ago. At the end of the day, there was no position for a person of his stature. USA Today Sports

Q: What does that mean? Can you translate that? Because what it sounds like to me is that Phil is a larger-than-life figure and if he's coming he wants final say. Was that a factor? Mitch Kupchak: Well I'm not sure that it got to that, but what we talked about was involvement and being a piece, a part of it. But based on where he ended up and what he got, it's easy to see why he did what he did. It's a no-brainer. Before you even get to the money, he got a wonderful — a challenging — but a wonderful opportunity. Logistically, he has got to work it out but, um, you know, it's one of those things where I'm not sure if it's what he was looking for but when it came on the table you can't turn it around. USA Today Sports

April 8, 2014 Updates
March 21, 2014 Updates

Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss made it clear Thursday that the final say, the "final hammer" as Dr. Jerry Buss used to call it, lies with her now. "I'm the boss," Jeanie Buss said in an hourlong interview on the "Mason and Ireland" show on ESPNLA 710 radio Thursday. "I am responsible ultimately for anything with the team and decisions that are made. "In my position, I empower people that are in positions to do their jobs. [Executive vice president of player personnel] Jim Buss and [general manager] Mitch Kupchak are responsible for all basketball decisions. They are empowered to do that. My job is to make sure, as a boss, that I provide them the tools to do the job successfully. But it's up to them to make the day-to-day decisions on how they operate their area of the business." ESPN.com

March 20, 2014 Updates
March 19, 2014 Updates

Buss' role in the Lakers' organization is on the business side; she doesn't have a major say on the basketball side. Her brother and team co-owner Jim Buss is in charge of basketball operations. General Manager Mitch Kupchak works directly for Jim Buss. "I don't know specifics on the plan, but they're confident and have assured me that next year will be better, measurable by more wins," she said. "We'll continue to build from there." Los Angeles Times

March 13, 2014 Updates

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