Last week, Kobe Bryant made it clear that he does not expect another season like the one the Lakers have experienced this year. He also had no problems calling out Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak, and the rest of the Lakers front office.
With a two-year window, Bryant wants the Lakers to make moves now, but that may not be feasible. Mitch Kupchak spoke to David Leon Moore of USA Today Sports, and continued to stress patience despite Bryant’s demands:
Patience is the key. With the new collective bargaining agreement, there are no quick fixes. You cannot outbid teams for star players.
With such a harsh luxury tax penalty part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the Lakers can’t afford to just pay all players top dollar. The owners fought to make things more even for smaller markets and that has a huge impact for a team like the Lakers.
Kupchak seems to have a plan, and that plan focuses on both the draft and good free agency deals to turn the team around. As he told USA Today, he is vary wary of putting everything into the draft, or saddling the team with bad contracts in free agency:
The one thing we feel is not a good thing is to be saddled with contracts of players that put us in the middle of the pack […] To think the draft can save your franchise, we just don’t think that way […] a lot of players have been picked in the middle or late first round that have turned out to be great players, and a lot of guys who have been picked one, two or three haven’t worked out.
Kupchak is a smart man, he will do his due diligence in the draft, and the NBA free agent market. But he will not allow Bryant’s words will to force him into panic moves that don’t improve the team.
Kobe Bryant On Change THIS Summer, Jim and Jeanie Buss, Coaching Staff