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In Mitch We Trust And The Optimism Heading Into The Lakers Off-Season Reviewed by Momizat on . Keeping the talent pipeline stocked and refueled is essential to building a winning culture in the NBA and nobody has done it better in the past decade than our Keeping the talent pipeline stocked and refueled is essential to building a winning culture in the NBA and nobody has done it better in the past decade than our Rating: 0
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In Mitch We Trust And The Optimism Heading Into The Lakers Off-Season

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Keeping the talent pipeline stocked and refueled is essential to building a winning culture in the NBA and nobody has done it better in the past decade than our very own, Mitch Kupchak. The coach may determine the system which dictates the type of player needed via free agency, trade or lottery pick, but as the GM you still have to go out there and recruit talent. It takes ninja-like precision to locate a diamond in the rough that most overlook and that’s where Kupchak shines. In this day and age when fans drool over athleticism and upside, developing talent into results is what matters. There’s also the issue of chemistry that can’t be overlooked (see Dwight Howard), so it takes a special set of eyes to foresee the future than it does to glamour at past achievements. A GM’s role encompasses selling a player on the total package of being part of a bigger culture. Today’s athlete wants endorsements, playing time, and power. Similar to coaching, basketball executives are as much psychologists as they are shrewd business people. It’s not just about having the best talent on a roster, but knowing which players fit together best.

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The past couple of seasons are far from what Lakers fans expect. From the vetoed CP3 trade, Steve Nash free agency pick-up, Dwight Howard trade, Mike Brown’s abrupt firing to Mike D’Antoni’s hiring over Phil, there is cause to doubt the Lakers front office’s recent decisions. There’s nothing the Lakers could have done about the CP3 debacle, yet Steve Nash has been a shell of his former self plus Dwight was chemistry disaster and huge disappointment after he walked after one season. Things went from bad to worse when Mike Brown was fired and Mike D’Antoni was hired.

hi-res-7026972_crop_northBefore putting the Lakers in the “refrigerator” as Chick Hearn used to say, look at the facts. Any GM would have picked up Steve Nash for future draft picks based on his track record throughout his career. Bynum sat out the entire 2012 – 2013 season, so even with Dwight’s underwhelming performance, it’s still better than nothing. As for the coaching choices, that falls primarily on the Buss family. If Dr. Jerry and Jim Buss wanted to re-create Showtime, they snagged their leading man in D’Antoni, but thing didn’t turn out exactly as planned — a bit of an understatement. As the Lakers GM, Kupchak has addressed all Lakers inquiries to the media. In fact, he’s never dodged any questions that have come his way, even if the fans don’t agree with his assessment. Look around the league and ask rival GM’s whom they revere the most and Kupchak will come out on top. He’s turned lemons into lemonade more than once before, so we just have to trust that he is plotting his master plan as we loathe over this horrific season.

pau-gasol-ringWe often forget the six words that changed the face of the NBA in 2008: Pau Gasol traded for Kwame Brown. In one fatal swoop, Kupchak turned the Lakers from pretenders to contenders in one blockbuster move. Not only was Gasol one of the best big men at the time, but his immediate chemistry with Kobe Bryant was almost seamless. In the seasons following the Lakers appeared in 3 straight finals winning 2 of them. If that’s too nostalgic, let’s not forget the job he did with few assets this past summer by signing Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, drafting Ryan Kelly and finding Kendall Marshall. Kupchak didn’t have the money to spend recklessly, instead he sold the players on the Lakers rich history. It never hurts to have “fans” as players and Kupchak played those cards beautifully. Not only was he able to recruit talent, but most of them were ideal fits for MDA’s system too. Most recently, he pulled off the Steve Blake for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks trade at the deadline. Although it wasn’t the popular move for both teammates and fans, the Lakers got younger, saved some money and gave Blake a chance to play for contender. The coaching job from D’Antoni’s doesn’t directly fall under Kupchak’s watch. Jim Buss has the final say so as much as Kupchak may believe it’s time to move in another direction, he’s not the final decision maker. Even as one of MDA’s harshest critics, there’s no point firing him this late in the season because nothing would be gained. Hopefully Kupchak has a short memory and is currently working on his strategy this summer.

One should never rest on his past successes, but if the past is the best predictor of the future the Lakers are in good hands. Kupchak’s new contract extension can give all fans a sigh of relief knowing the architect of our most recent championships is here to stay. As Jerry West’s apprentice, Kupchak has been groomed under the best. It’s hard to argue his four championships since his promotion and by his regular game-time attendance, it shows his loyalty to the purple and gold. The summer of 2014 will be the first step in a 3-year rebuilding process back to the top. Things do look dark right now, but beware rest of the league, the calm precedes the storm. This off-season will be like no other in Lakers history, yet we as fans are in good hands. Kupchak has done it before and he can do it again. That’s why our hope lies: In Mitch We Trust.
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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak On NBA Draft, No. 1 Pick And Trading The Pick


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About The Author

Number of Entries : 3
  • Laker Illuminati

    Ok dude make the call.

  • Laker Illuminati

    Please keep @jimbuss out of the draft process.

    • Josh

      Why? He’s putting his role as VP of Basketball Operations on the line. I think he should have a say in what players he acquires if he’s putting himself out there like that. The Lakers have drafted pretty well since Jimmy’s been involved.

      • Chrmngblly

        What horseshit! All he’s doing is trying to evade responsibility for the last 4 years. JB just wants a do-over—plus 4 more years. Who have the Lakers drafted since Jimmy’s been involved? You must be JB’s gay lover, Josh–no offense, gay dudes.

        Why won’t someone explain why no one knew that the league would have the final say over the CP3 trade? Why don’t reporters ask the Lakers FO about that? How could that even happen?

        Why doesn’t someone ask about JB’s claim of 95% confidence D12 would re-sign at the trade deadline? Anyone could see Howard was too weak a vessel to risk losing so much over. Now what? The right owner would have closed Howard or traded him at the deadline.

        And Nash. Phil Jackson told JB not to make that deal. But that’s an owner’s call. Good call JB.
        So now that we are down 4 first round picks and several second rounders, tell us all about JB’s great drafting, Josh.

        Who thinks Mike Brown was ever a “Laker” coach? Ever? Now we have MDA—and some say the FO is thinking of keeping him. My God. Josh, what are you smoking—and how can the rest of us get some?

  • incendy

    My realistic hopes.
    Sign Steve Blake back, sign Deng, get Kobe healthy, get Kelly stronger and draft Vonleh.

    My unrealistic hopes.
    Sign Lowry, Sign Deng, trade for Love, sign and trade for Chandler.. And of course get Kobe healthy : )

    • LakersHeatBeef

      Yeah Steve Blake would be nice but he is unable to return to the Lakers for at least 1 year from the date he was traded.It’s a NBA rule implemented a few years ago when Zydrunas was traded from the Cavs and he got waived by the Wizards and returned to the Cavs that same season and soon after the NBA changed the rule to a 1 year waiting period for players that got traded.

      • incendy

        That is interesting. I knew about the rule, but I didn’t realize it applied to free agents as well. That sucks, Steve would be great to have alongside Kobe in the backcourt.

        • LakersHeatBeef

          Yeah Blake is a heady guard that played well last season.

        • Josh

          It doesn’t apply to free agents. Blake will be back in LA next season–I think he would prefer the Lakers, but his home and family are in LA, and that’s a big deal to him.

          • LakersHeatBeef

            Yeah okay that makes sense since Steve was not bought out by GSW instead he was retained.He could join the Lakers since he was not bought out,had he of been bought out then the Lakers would have to wait a full year from the day of the trade i know this because fans wanted Odom and Fisher after their buyouts that was not allowed by the CBA.

          • Josh

            The rule is that a player who is waived cannot be reacquired in the same season. That time has passed now for the Lakers and Blake, but regardless, the one-year rule ends if the contract expires, which Blake’s does July 1st. Either way, doesn’t really matter in this case, because the point is that Steve Blake CAN return to the Lakers this summer.

          • Daryl Peek

            I would love to have Blake back but that would mean a log jam at PG again and who would most rather see come back, Farmar or Blake? Nash is not going to be stretched and Marshall is being retained. Where does that leave the potential Exum plan most want to see? How does resigning Blake affect keeping Bazemore, Meeks, X or Young as potential SG’s/SF’s? The back court and wing positions become overloaded again depending on who is retained, tho given this past season (injuries) that is not such a bad thing.

          • Josh

            I would take Blake over Farmar since he’s a better defender and can play both guard positions. It looks like Nash will be back, but I can’t see him playing more than 20-30 games even if he comes back “healthy” in October. I really want to see Meeks and Bazemore back, too, but I don’t want X back and have no opinion either way on Young. With those guys, the 1-3 could look something like:

            PG – Blake | Marshall | Nash
            SG – Meeks | Blake | Bazemore
            SF – Bryant | Young | Bazemore

          • Daryl Peek

            Tough call all around.

            Meeks and Young will be market value X-factors as they have both truly earned a pay day. X just might fit into the cap flexibility plans better as I could see him being willing to accept a short term contract at a reasonably low cost to the team. Bazemore and X are the same player really tho X is just stronger and shoots better from distance. Kent seems to be a slightly better play maker in passing. Both have preexisting injury history plight of concern. X is the younger of the two but seems to be more experienced.

          • Josh

            I don’t really see Young coming back. I think some team will offer him too much money, and he won’t be able to turn it down to stay. Meeks, I see as a mini-MLE guy, which the Lakers should be willing to pay him. I’ll admit that I’m biased toward Kent Bazemore because I graduated from Old Dominion, and he is the only player representing my alma mater. Plus, he seems to be a really good guy with his head on straight and a nice back story to go with his talent and passion for the game. I see Xavier as being far too inconsistent, but I guess he could be back for another minimum contract (or close to minimum).

          • Daryl Peek

            We see Meeks differently as I expect him to be offered MLE (5 mil a season) money at the least. His production lines up with that as he’s pretty much as good as say Jamal Crawford or the present day Manu Ginobli. Meeks is in that tier of SG’s that are not superstar worthy but a starter on many teams and a great sixth man on a contender.

          • Josh

            Yes, a little differently. I think he gets $4 million max, but I lean toward the mini-MLE because it would be double his current salary. He is basically in his “prime” right now at 26 years old, this is the first year he has shown that he can handle being a rotation player, and he still posted a below-average PER. I would not mention him near where Manu is because Manu can still be leaned on to carry the Spurs when needed.

      • Josh

        Steve Blake will be a free agent July 1, and can sign with any team he wants. The one-year rule ends when the contract expires.

        • LakersHeatBeef

          • 2011 CBA: If a player is traded and subsequently waived by his new team, he cannot re-sign with his original team for one year following the trade or until July 1 after the last season of the player’s contract, whichever is earlier.

          • Who benefits? The tighter salary-matching rules in the 2005 agreement often required the addition of ballast (extra players thrown in for salary matching purposes) to make a trade legal. These players were often unwanted and unneeded once the trade was complete, and were waived soon after the trade was consummated — often finding their way back to the team that traded them after a short vacation. For example, the Cavs sent Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Wizards as part of their 2010 trade for Antawn Jamison. The Wizards waived him a week later, and he subsequently re-signed with the Cavs for the remainder of the season.

          The relaxation of trade rules should reduce — but not eliminate — the need for trade ballast. When it does occur, this rule change will prevent the team from reacquiring the player in the same season. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it will eliminate these wink-wink deals where players are traded with the full expectation of returning later. On the other hand, it might create a situation where an able-bodied player is unable to work in the league, because the only team that has an available roster spot and is willing to sign him is prevented from signing him.

          • incendy

            He wasn’t waived so I guess this doesn’t apply. That is good, would love to see him back!

    • greg

      vonleh? with our draft pick? seriously?

      • incendy

        He would be the best center available at 6, although he may be gone. I actually like Vonleh a lot.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    In Mitch we trust.Well i hope he makes all the right moves,we need major changes.

  • comrade24

    Seems like there’s a good chance this offseason will be a busy one and i bet we’ll all be a lot happier fans this time next year cause i bet we’ll still be watching games

    • Daryl Peek

      Agreed

  • J Taylor

    The new CBA forces teams to build around young cheap talent. Mitch has done a very good job of assembling the team based around this requirement.

    He’s got enough money to make improvements and a draft player that we hope is a future starter.

    We’ve hit the bottom of the Dark Era, and the future is bright.

  • Shannon

    I have faith in Mitch but with the way things are looking I hope we don’t have another season of 1 year deals of mediocre players. I know my fellow Lakers fans are excited(somewhat) and trying to put together teams they think are good but you have to do it based on who is available in FA next year and the year after. I’m sure that’s part of how Mitch does things and since we don’t have any trade assets like we normally would have we definitely have to make moves based on free agency. So basically you don’t sign Kris Humphries to a huge deal just because we NEED a PF when next off season Lamarcus Aldridge becomes a FA. That’s just an example.

  • C*HarrisTHEboss

    We will be better next year – but we aren’t winning a playoff series. Another year of mediocrity to come.

    • Daryl Peek

      If healthy I believe this team can absolutely win a playoff series next season, especially if they hit with the draft pick or trading it. Lots of variables to consider, I can’t roll with the pessimism. Only up from this low.

      • C*HarrisTHEboss

        You didn’t answer my question though – who do we get that makes us a playoff threat? Especially with probably getting a 6-8 pick

        • Daryl Peek

          It’s all speculation on the who’s and I really don’t like to play that game. The current team as constructed would’ve made much more noise if healthy, IMO.

          • C*HarrisTHEboss

            how do you figure it remains the same given Pau’s inevitable exit? – his commanding of double teams and passing skills in the post is really what made that team flow and garnered open 3s

          • Daryl Peek

            I disagree as Pau was too passive early on as he was still too caught up in his MDA emotions. This is why the second unit outperformed the starters when the team was actually winning games, playing exciting MDA/Showtime b-ball and looking promising as Kobe was lurking on the mend.

            After Kobe’s return Pau got out of his emotions and started to play ball but it was too late as the injuries consumed the teams collective spirit going forward. Blake was what made the team flow from a mental toughness stand point. Pau was putting up empty numbers as he failed in being a consistent number one option as a team leader on the court, especially defensively.

          • Chrmngblly

            Still the swami, DP? I hope Kobe let you down. I didn’t feel that way and I have only heard good about Kobe from his team mates. You sure can go negative about people.

            I recommend re-signing Pau and trading him to NY for Tyson Chandler. I think Phil is going to want him to run the triangle and it would give us in TC, somebody better than any of the available FAs out there. Two years left on his contract. Finally healthy.

          • Daryl Peek

            I suggest you go over to Lake Show Life and read the article on Kobe, if it’s still up.

          • Chrmngblly

            Been there, done that. I guess these intern journalists’ opinions are like hearing the Word of God to you. Listen to me, I’m your master.

          • Daryl Peek

            There opinion just happened to line up with mines on said topic. Many other pundits did also as what Kobe did was unacceptable bottom line.

          • Chrmngblly

            Good. Then we can call you a leader. Nobody thinks Kobe blowing off the season finale was a good thing, but most find his intolerance for horseshit so entwined with who Kobe is that there is no separating the two. Thus, they just accept it because they like Kobe being Kobe.

            You, on the other hand, want to bemoan the fact that Kobe is not sportsman of the year or the league’s greatest humanitarian or team mate of the month. That’s not who Kobe is—and wishing will not make it so. And your griping certainly will not.

            I bitch about the amateurism of Jim Buss, who has almost single-handedly wiped out his father’s legacy in a scant few years, and you try to shush me. Go to hell, you hypocrite.

            The FO is pretty happy Kobe is Kobe. You should be, too.

          • Daryl Peek

            “try to shush you. Go to hell, you hypocrite.” There you go. Get the fuck outta here with that BS!!!

          • Chrmngblly

            Sign and trade Pau for Tyson Chandler. Throw Nash in, NY can throw someone else in in return to balance it all out—and it can turn out cool.

        • greg

          well we hav a 21 percent chance of top 3 and the lottery ends after that therefore even if we don’t get one of the top 3 we are guaranteed the sixth soooo its impossible to hav a 7th or an 8th, we either get the first, second, third, or sixth

    • Josh

      I fully expect a second-round exit next year, and then a run for the title in 2016. I think the front office will build a team that can compete for a ring in 2016, and then stay at the top beyond by replacing Kobe with another max free agent–i.e. Kevin Durant.

      • C*HarrisTHEboss

        2016 I know something big will go down to put us back on the map. but next year who do we beat in the first round?

        • Josh

          If you know next year’s playoff seedings, we need to talk some more. I have no idea who they will face, but I expect a first round series win. Maybe MDA leads the Lakers to a first-round win over the Suns…

    • Chrmngblly

      Boss, my idea is to do a sign and trade on Pau with NY for Tyson Chandler. We throw in Nash and they send somebody back to make the numbers work. Phil will want Pau to teach the triangle. Nash will help with an expiring contract—Phil ought to go for that and so should we.

  • Long-time Laker Fan

    If Mitch K. did such a good job, why did he sign Kamen and Hill with Mike D as coach? Not his kind of players, totally under utilized – a waste.

    • Josh

      Mike Brown was coach when he acquired Jordan Hill. Kaman was too good a value to pass up and would have been Pau’s backup if the season had played out differently. When everything fell apart, the priority shifted to developing Sacre.

      • Daryl Peek

        …that and the fact that Kaman constantly sticks his foot in his mouf creating a situation where all of his previous coaches have alienated him. Hill played more minutes than he ever has in his career and started more games than his previous 4 seasons combined. Hill also played the most minutes along side of Gasol than any of the other big’s. The misuse of the big’s is such a tired false arguing point.

        • Josh

          Kaveman sure does have a reputation with coaches.

    • Marty Susman

      Hill is a good fit for Mike, but not Kamen.

      • roseducanna

        But , both of them don’t like MDA ‘ system.

        • metalbass

          mda is not a big fan of hill

  • Daryl Peek

    Question Lakers Nation, Harrison Barnes or Wes Johnson?

    • Marty Susman

      Are you kidding, Harrison Barnes buy ton’s over Johnson.

      • Daryl Peek

        From and upside perspective I agree. Barnes is 5 years younger but the career timeline path is exactly the same between the two by the numbers.

    • Josh

      Having never watched Barnes play, I pick Barnes. Wes had a good game this season about once a week and was AWOL the rest of the time.

  • Marty Susman

    First of all I DISAGREE 100% that, “any coach would have given away draft picks for Nash” Hell he is hear because zero other people wanted him…. As for the front office, sorry, we pulled D12 hear after he had made it clear many times, he didn’t want to be hear….We in the end got rid of Drew for nothing….Now we will be losing Pau for nothing as well unless for some reason he would be open to a sign n trade, another bad move for the front office…. Now as far as a coach is concerned, please don’t talk about money, hell we gave a soon to be 40 year old with millions of miles on his feet who has had two career ending injuries $48,000,000 as a GIFT so paying two coach’s in no big deal….So as far as “trusting” the front office, Na I don’t think so, at least not until I first see who the draft pick is, if we keep our first round pick & so on. Lastly when will Mike be fired & WHO WILL TAKE HIS PLACE before I can sleep knowing how great the front office is…..

    • ra

      At the time, Nash was still a good player, and one of the top 3 PGs. It happened after the NBA (via Stern) nixed the CP3 deal. The Lakers, with a ‘premiere’ PG would have been a good, no, great situation for acquiring and ‘keeping’ DH.

      If Nash were healthy, the combination of a good PG and DH would have been devastating for other teams. Then, when Nash ‘would have’ retired, it would have been a good situation to acquire CP3 (who “I’m sure” would have liked to have someone like DH to run a ‘lob city’ for the Lakers – and .. for CP3 to BE a Laker).

      That was the plan (or, a plan).

      Injuries ‘wrecked’ the whole thing. The Nash injury, the Kobe injuries. They were actually, technically, ‘career-ending’ type injuries at the end of their careers. I’m not saying that Kobe’s career is over, but his injury is a type of injury that players have, that usually has ended their careers.

      Now, if Kobe comes back, and can ‘still play’, the Lakers can easily extend their ‘brand’. People like to see Kobe play, period (not just here, but in the world). Brand == $$. The investment in Kobe will have a ‘larger’ return, if he remains healthy.

      Mitch K. even said that he could see Kobe playing beyond 2 years. If he remains healthy, that is a possibility. Kobe has championship mentality, and can help the team. And, he can help get players here for his ‘true’ final years of play. He can hand over the reigns to someone new. It works well, since the Kobe brand is still strong.

    • Josh

      I seem to recall the Raptors and Knicks slobbering all over Nash. And Kobe is more incredible than I thought if he plays next year after his career being ended twice. 36 is a long way from 40.

      • Chrmngblly

        I, too, would be willing to slobber on Nash.

    • Chrmngblly

      Sign and trade Pau for Tyson Chandler. Throw Nash in, they throw someone else in return to balance it all out—and it can turn out cool.

  • KingEmperor

    mitch just keep the draft OK..

  • Johnny

    We will be young and great in two tears. Stern will be old and still a asshole in two years.

  • Dino Madness

    Everyone has trusted Mitch and all he gave Lakers fans was,
    2008 draft- In the second round the Lakers drafted Joe Crawford out of the league.

    2009 draft the Lakers drafted combo guard Toney Douglass that was a big miss because he could have drafted Danny Green or Patty Mills.

    2010 draft the Lakers drafted Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter both no longer Lakers and are going no where.

    2011 draft They drafted Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Chukwudiebere Maduabum and Ater Majok. The tragedy is that they wasted all those second round picks because they could had drafted Isaiah Thomas with one of those picks!!!

    Please don’t let Mitch do the drafting, let the scouts do it. That’s why Mitch likes getting rid of number one draft picks because he knows he’s going to screw it up. Might as well let Jim Buss do it because he got Bynum and was right about him. Unfortunately Mitch has no talent for drafting he’s screw up almost every Lakers second round pick so in this important draft In Mitch we CANNOT TRUST!

    • Josh

      2008 – that was the 58th pick. Derrick rose and Kevin Love weren’t exactly available anymore.

      2009 – Every team in the league passed on Danny Green and Patty Mills at least once.

      2010 – Jeremy Lin is the only player in that draft who might have been better than Ebanks, and no one drafted him.

      2011 – Everyone passed on Isaiah Thomas.

      The second round is a complete crap shoot. They’ve done pretty well the last two years with Sacre and RKelly. I don’t know who you expect the Lakers to draft with picks 26-60, but everyone anyone expects to be any good is gone by about the 10th pick.

      • Dino Madness

        Excuses, Excuses, Excuses and more Excuses all it proves is that in Mitch we cannot trust Maybe he’ll get it right but most likely he will mess it up. The reason he keeps getting rid of most #1 draft picks is because he’s not very good at drafting then and he knows it. Every time he’s about to get one draft pick, he gets rid of then like they have the plague.

        • Josh

          Dude, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The highest pick Mitch has traded away was #21. In trading away first round picks, Mitch brought in Horace Grant who contributed to a title in 2001 and Pau Gasol who contributed to titles in 2009 and 2010. Trading away those picks also got rid of Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittendon, and got Luke Walton’s contract off the books without using the amnesty on him.

          Most players taken outside the top 20 are lucky to make it as rotation guys in the NBA, and most are out of the league before their rookie contracts expire.

  • metalbass

    fire coach mda. and do not resign steve blake pls. also do not waste a lot of money on useless freagents like luol deng

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