During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak has experienced both the upside and downside of being a General Manager in the NBA. Before the making the blockbuster trade for Pau Gasol a few years back, Kupchak was arguably the most hated man in the L.A. with Lakers fans demanding he be fired for his poor job of rebuilding the team around Kobe Bryant in the post Shaq era. That all changed once he pulled off perhaps one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history by landing Gasol and giving up Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and the rights to Marc Gasol.
This deal instantly made Kupchak a hero in Los Angeles and for good reason with the Lakers becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference once again. As a result, the Lakers won two NBA titles back-to-back with the new dynamic duo of Kobe Bryant and Gasol leading the way.
Since that time, Kupchak has been able to sit back and watch the Lakers dominate in the West as the result of the trade. The Lakers GM has made a few more deals to improve the team like brining in Metta World Peace, Ron Artest and Matt Barnes, but nothing as substantial as the trade for the Spanish forward that turned everything around in Los Angeles.
Obviously, other teams around the league have seen the impact of Kupchak in L.A. and would love to get their hands on the highly successful GM. Reportedly, the Portland Trail Blazers have put Kupchak at the top of their wish list for the vacant GM position this summer via Chris Broussard and Mark Stein of ESPN.com:
The Portland Trail Blazers have strong interest in interviewing Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak for their GM vacancy, according to sources familiar with Portland’s thinking.
Kupchak is one of the Blazers’ top targets, sources told ESPN.com, in their quest to land an executive with experience running a franchise’s basketball operations.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the Lakers would be willing to grant Portland permission to speak to Kupchak, who has spent more than 25 years in L.A.’s front office.
With 25 years dedicated to the purple and gold, Kupchak obviously has a soft spot for the Lakers with teams pursuing him in the past and coming up empty. That being said, it won’t be easy to lure the Lakers GM away from Los Angeles unless the Blazers are willing to put a lot of money on the table in order to convince Kupchak to head up north to fix the glaring problems the team is facing in Portland.