There has been a notion of the possibility that the Lakers are considering tanking next season to purposefully increase their chances of getting into the NBA lottery and obtaining a high draft pick. This notion has been speculated after the injury of the Lakers’ franchise player, Kobe Bryant, in which his return date is yet to be pinpointed. This notion got louder when Dwight Howard left for the Houston Rockets in free agency earlier this month.
Tanking is unfamiliar territory for the sixteen-time champions, and today, Mitch Kupchak dismissed any notion that the Lakers are going to “throw in the towel” in the upcoming season. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Kupchak reaffirmed the Lakers’ goal of winning, saying:
“You know that’s not our plan. Our plan was to bring back Dwight Howard and that would have sky-rocketed our payroll,” Kupchak said. “That’s never a plan here with our fan base, to throw in the towel before the season begins. We always try to win, and that’s what we’re going to do this year.
“We have challenges. There’s no doubt. We don’t know when Kobe’s coming back, and we don’t know what level he’s going to come back at, although we’re optimistic. Everything’s good with Steve [Nash].Pau [Gasol] should be fine. We’ve added some athleticism. We’re hopefully putting ourselves in position where we can compete in every game.”
The Lakers’ front office has done a solid job of signing free agents this offseason that can play crucial roles on the team, especially when you considered the financial limitations the team is facing this summer.
Although acquiring a high draft pick in 2014 is desirable, when the draft class is set to be very talented and sought after, Mitch Kupchak affirmed what the Lakers have built their culture and narrative around for decades: winning.
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