Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Q&A: No. 7 Draft Pick, Kobe, Coaching Search
Kupchak: “Well, I think clearly it will be a longer process for obvious reasons. And, I assume you’re alluding to our last hire, which really took less than a week. You know, Mike D’Antoni. This process will be considerably longer, for a bunch of different reasons. Number one, we have a lot more time, number two, we don’t really know what our team looks like and there is no urgency right now so it will be a more deliberate process.”
Question: With the coaching search, are there any offensive or defensive philosophies you are looking for in a candidate?
Kupchak: “I wouldn’t use the word philosophy, but we have a player on our team right now who’s proven, in this league offensively, he can score. That certainly is a consideration. Obviously, I’m talking about Kobe. He’s under contract for two more years and we think he’s a very integral part of this team so we have to make sure that whomever we hire as a coach really gets the most productivity out of him. Whether it’s scoring the ball or playmaking or the threat that he may score, is probably a primary importance right now.”
Question: Are there any philosophies that come to mind that would be best for Kobe in these last two years for him?
Kupchak: “What do you mean by philosophies?”
Question: Just in terms of how he is used offensively?
Kupchak: “Well, we haven’t seen much of him in the last year. He’s been over here working out and he looks good. Over the years his game has changed from really a game where he’s pretty wild and athletic and at times out of control, this is in the early part of his career. And I would say for the last seven or eight years he has become more deliberate and of course he’s gotten a little bit older. And, I think he’s become most effective and I think you’ll see a lot of him posting up. I think you’ll see him with the ball in his hands making plays. Late in games he’ll have the ball in his hands, he’s gonna get a call, he’s gonna make free throws. So you know Kobe today is different than Kobe 15 years ago and I don’t think that’s a secret and I think Kobe knows where on the court he’ll be most effective, whether its playmaking, being a decoy or scoring the ball, and I think we know where those places are.”
Question: On the coaching front, how wide of a net are you casting here? Any chance another team’s head coach could come into play and I ask that in light of the fact that Dave Joerger is going to interview with Minnesota. And then you have seen stuff like Doc Rivers last year, where one team has interested in another team’s coach and things work out. Is that a possibility for you guys?
Kupchak: “Well why wouldn’t it be a possibility? We don’t have a timeline, and if we had a timeline for tomorrow or Friday or the weekend, then I would say that is remote. But I mentioned earlier this is going to go on for at least 2-3 weeks, and I’m not anticipating what you just mentioned being a part of the process, but we’ll just monitor how it plays out with the teams that are out there and see what the playing field provides and make decisions accordingly.”
Question: What are your general thoughts on a player going straight to coaching? Would this person need to have been a head coach before?
Kupchak: “Not necessarily but by my understanding we are leaning towards the type of coach we would want I would say there would be experience involved, certainly at some level. But not necessarily, you know it’s just too early in the process.”