Mitch Kupchak: Dwight Uncertainty “Scary Close” to Kobe in 2004

Mitch Kupchak: Dwight Uncertainty “Scary Close” to Kobe in 2004


KupchakAfter the Lakers drafted Ryan Kelly with their 48th pick late Thursday night, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke to the media for 28 minutes, and those 28 minutes weren’t devoted to the future of the former Duke alum. Instead, Dwight Howard was at the forefront of the conversation, but this time Kupchak sounded a bit much more in touch with reality. As a matter of fact, Kupchak used Kobe Bryant’s uncertain situation but ultimate decision to re-sign with the Lakers in 2004 to relate to Howard’s pending free agency – describing the two as “scary close.”

“Kobe visited with teams, more than one team, there were several, I remember we were on pins and needles,” Kupchak explained at the Lakers facility. “There was a lot of uncertainty with what Kobe would do. A lot of rumor –  very similar to whats going on right now and when the phone call came in we really didn’t know which way it was going to go.”

The last sentence says it all – the Lakers didn’t know which way the phone call was going to go in 2004, and they’re not sure which way the phone call is going to go in 2013. Kupchak did say, however, that he thinks Howard will make his decision before July 15th.

So just how similar are the two situations? Both teams were the product of a losing season and an unhappy ending. The Lakers reached the NBA Finals in 2004, losing in 5 games to the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers reached the NBA Playoffs in 2013, getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

Both teams had head coaches making headlines. In 2004, three days after the Lakers lost to the Pistons, the Lakers announced that Phil Jackson would no longer be returning as head coach. In 2012, Mike Brown was relieved from his coaching duties, and was later replaced with Mike D’Antoni. In 2013, Mike D’Antoni is still the head coach, despite Howard reportedly being unhappy in his system, enough said. In 2004, the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal, and rumors surrounded whether or not Kobe would re-sign with the Lakers. There were, however, no billboards posted around the city of Los Angeles or hanging from Staples Center. In 2013, the “Dwight Stay” billboards have erected, and Howard has found himself at the center of the free agent rumor mill. As for Kobe Bryant, he is still proudly holding the throne, not yet ready to pass the torch.

—- Check out Lakers big man Dwight Howard’s player bio here! —-

If the Lakers pick up the phone and don’t receive the answer they’ve been banking on, is there a Plan B sufficient enough to field a competitive Lakers team next year?

“If Dwight should leave, we have a plan B, its not as good as plan A, but it does go beyond one year.”

If the Lakers are unable to re-sign Howard, the Lakers will not necessarily go into rebuilding mode. The Lakers GM reiterated that the Lakers do have a lot of financial flexibility a year from now, and they will plan to field a very competitive team, even if Dwight goes elsewhere.

The Lakers will hope that the two situations are just as “scary close” as Kupchak compared, for fear of receiving a phone call that doesn’t play into the Lakers happy ending.


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  • Hendrix2020

    Are you fuckin serious?? It’s nowhere near close to when KB24 was a free agent. Howard is a pussy and hasn’t won anything. Let him walk and rebuild.

    • Roberto Antonio Hernandez

      you are right bro!!!!!!!!!his a bicht cry baby..

  • Cole B.

    Ok Mitch, we’re gonna let you slide on this one just because our Laker morale as a whole is kinda in the shitter, but come on. You can NEVER compare Kobe to Dwight in any way shape or form. I’m sure Kobe takes this as an insult. Let’s maybe swallow our pride, realize Dwight doesn’t wanna come here, which means we shouldn’t even want him here, and start using you wizardry to make us a contender knowing Dwight will be out of the picture. This clown is making Laker nation look weak and I can’t take it anymore.

  • 3339

    Dwight Howard is coming off major back surgery and a season under a coach that doesn’t appreciate bigs. Honestly think about it, how was Dwight suppossed to succeed under these circumstances?
    Now the Lakers are seriously going to sit there and allow a player as great as Dwight walk just because of that stubborn fool dantoni.
    All those Laker fans that think Dwight should leave, think about this. Phil Jackson and Kobe want Dwight back. Phil is basically trying to tell everyone that dantoni sucks and that all the Lakers need to do is focus on posting up Dwight and Pau and they’ll be successful.

    • Rob

      jim buss is to blame. too much pride i think…

    • borsalino12

      Let me answer your “whys” this way.
      Phil Jackson is not going to coach anymore. That is for sure. His protege Brian Shaw was just hired from Denver as their head coach. There is no one out there, who can install the triangle system for the Lakers. So that system – Inside out – by getting the ball to you dominant big in the paint is no longer implementable. We have to go with pick – n – roll system to have some success. Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill at center can get the job done every single night.Pau is resting his legs this summer without any participation with the Spanish national team and I am sure, he will come back as the Pau from 2007, when we got him here. And is not a big deal, if next summer we can not find a younger and better center. This two guys can play for at least 2-3 more years at a high level.

  • Pops

    F#@% Dwight Howard.

  • Paytc

    Not even close.Kobe was a proven champion in 2004.Howard is on the charles Barkley road to no championships.If Howard were smart he would sign with the Lakers and follow Kobe’s lead.

  • Roberto Antonio Hernandez

    howard is a bicht let bicht leave on her own!!!!!!!!

  • mercury 1

    Are all laker fans as dumb as they sound. Dwight is your boy sink or swim. You don’t show contempt for the man you show love. Dwight is a young man who is not yet sure how to grab a hold of the tiger by the tail. LeBron has made some errors too, but he took the good with the bad. Let’s stick with Dwight, if he leaves so be it. The Lakers will rise again. The changes needs to start from the top, GM, Coach, and maybe even ownership. When you have a talent like Dwight you don’t cut your nose off to spite your face. Let’s Go L A Lakers.