Mitch Kupchak On Dwight Howard Leaving: ‘It Wasn’t A Surprise’

Mitch Kupchak On Dwight Howard Leaving: ‘It Wasn’t A Surprise’


Dwight Howard and Mitch Kupchak at Press ConferenceBefore Dwight Howard decided to leave the Los Angeles Lakers in favor of the Houston Rockets, general manager Mitch Kupchak let it be known the team was going all out in their attempt to re-sign the perennial All-Star. Kupchak believed Dwight was the future of the franchise and stressed how crucial it was to bring him back for the long-term, but the team fell short in their attempts.

Kupchak has now broken his silence about Dwight’s departure claiming it came as no surprise the three-time Defensive Player of the Year chose Houston over Los Angeles via Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:

“It wasn’t a surprise. I had a feeling that Houston was a frontrunner, and whenever a player is an unrestricted free agent, anything can happen,” Kupchak said. “Clearly, we wanted to keep him here in Los Angeles, and I felt we did everything we could do within reason to show we did want to keep him here.

“Until the end, I kept up hope. I think we were as persistent as we could be within reason. I wasn’t shocked but I was disappointed.”

In the weeks leading up to Dwight’s decision, there was no clear indication in terms of which way the superstar center was leaning. The Rockets were very much in the hunt and considered to be neck-and-neck with the Lakers, but ultimately Dwight felt as if his best chance to win a championship in the near future was in Houston.

As a result of the decision, Dwight became the first superstar player to ever leave the Lakers in free agency. It remains to be seen how Kupchak and the Lakers’ front office will be able to bounce back in unfamiliar territory. The next few years will be telling to say the least.


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  • quote…

    dwight is a good defender, but he’s not a complete player. egos got in the way with this situation. dwight has more weaknesses to his game than his strengths.
    kaman is a better offensive player and will be more suitable if the lakers FIND CHEMISTRY!!!

  • Laker J

    Mitch, you’re a better GM than that. When you failed to get a commitment from Dwight before the trade deadline, and given the state of the team, you should have traded his ass. At least the Lakers would have something to show for, particularly draft picks. It makes no sense. When you decided to keep D’Antoni, you sealed the Lakers fate. Even then, a sign and trade would have made more sense, other teams should have been engaged. In the end, Orlando was the smarter team!

  • Jim213

    Further proof that management didn’t have a plan C as plan A & B=DH. Great job this past year management ?@#%… many knew he wasn’t returning and yet they failed to go after other star’s during FA that would’ve helped to address our needs and yet Kupcake mentions that they don’t plan on tanking next season.

  • Eddie Lazaro

    Maybe this was a blessing sign, we’re a few over (not too bad) the cap and don’t have to worry about any Clown and Circus disrupting (hope) the locker room again. Though the roster is filled with too many no name stars, they all came in wanting to be here, even better, taking pay cuts. There is a lot of positive in this roster and I’m just not giving up. if Kobe comes back in time about 90% and have a little time to join training camp, it will be a chemistry in the making and cohesion that will only get better. I have not seen the Lakers with so many shooters since 2000 when the team is shooting daylights out, back doors passes, alley hoops, penetrate and dunk. maybe I am expecting too much, but being a Lakers, that’s what we do.

  • ra

    Maybe it wasn’t a ‘complete’ surprise. I’m sure it was a ‘little bit’ of a surprise, considering they were still unsure up to the last moment.

  • Rarthadys

    All Dwight has is his physical strength and fast reflex that made him a better players than others. However, he doesn’t have the mental toughness as most men have. Either because the environment he grew up in, or people around him always pamper him. It doesn’t seem like he can take all the responsibility of leading a team. Kobe lost in the finals before, but he came back and win it. Dwight lost in the finals, and started to blame everyone around him, he basically blew the whole Magic team up with his diva attitude, a team that went to the finals. that’s what he is, a self centered big man who doesn’t even know what is responsibility.