Mitch Kupchak Rumors
Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford was chatting recently with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. The conversation quickly turned to ex-Lakers center Roy Hibbert, who signed with the Hornets over the summer. “You’ll be surprised how good a basketball player he is on offense,” Kupchak told Clifford. Four games into the Hornets’ preseason, Clifford buys Kupchak’s point.
First things first. World Peace must first prove he can survive several rounds of roster cuts before the NBA regular season starts in late October. “We didn’t expect him to make the team last year and he made it,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “The same thing can happen this year.”
An ominous cloud looms over the Lakers, however. Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss said in 2014 he would step down if the Lakers do not become a Western Conference contender in three years. Lakers president Jeanie Buss has often said she would hold the front office accountable with unspecified changes if that does not happen. All of which perpetuates uncertainty on if Kupchak’s focus on development could conflict with Jeanie Buss’ focus on results. “I’m not in a position to debate the stuff you talked about,” Kupchak said on Tuesday at UC Santa Barbara. “I’m not sure what was said with certainty. From my point of view, we’ve created a team that has a lot of young talent that can grow into really good NBA players that can leave an imprint on this league. I think we’ve surrounded them with older veterans to help us win games. I’m excited about our coaching staff.”
The Lakers acquired some intriguing veteran, including a rim protector (Timofey Mozgov), a versatile forward (Luol Deng) and steady point guard (Jose Calderon). Yet, who knows how much any of those players can both produce and mentor as much as the Lakers hope they do. “I want to see improvement in the young players,” Kupchak said. “I want to see some production from our rookies and I want our team to be fun to watch. I want them to have fun playing. I want them to get better as the season goes along. But I don’t know how that translates into anything else under my control.”
Serena Winters: Mitch Kupchak said Metta World Peace understands they might not keep him on the final roster (but then again they didn’t expect him to make the team last yr!)