After pulling off a blockbuster trade on July 4 for two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak wasn’t sure if there’d be another “Homerun” deal made by the team before next season.
Even though the Dwight Howard rumors were ongoing, with the Lakers being the frontrunner, Kupchak remained skeptical about whether or not a deal would ultimately get done via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:
“I just never felt that there was a deal that (the Magic) thought that they would do,” Kupchak said. “Without going into great detail, I just felt the Magic were just canvassing the league, which is the job. … I didn’t think there would be a deal. It got really quiet a couple weeks ago. Before that, it was very crazy – and then it just died. So we had kind of moved on.”
Kupchak went on to explain how the Lakers had to lockup both Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill with the mindset that a potential blockbuster trade for Howard not being likely.
It’s no secret that the Lakers had coveted Howard for quite some time and knew that he’d be the future of the franchise after Kobe Bryant retired if they were able to acquire him. With so many demands of a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, and other teams beginning to aggressively pursue Howard (like the Houston Rockets) chances seemed slim that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year would land in Los Angeles.
Despite all the speculation and constant waffling by the Orlando Magic about trade options, Kupchak and company were finally able to pull off another unbelievable deal in which the team only sacrificed Andrew Bynum and a couple of bench warmers for arguably the best center in the NBA.
It’s safe to say that if everything goes to plan during next season and the Lakers are able to establish themselves as a legitimate NBA title contender once again, Kupchak is a lock for the NBA’s Executive of the Year award.
The moves he’s made during the off-season to add Nash, Howard, Jamison and Jodie Meeks into the mix in Los Angeles are nothing short of incredible. Kupchak continues to prove that he’s currently the best GM in the game and will keep the Lakers in contention for a title as long as he’s the one making the moves in the front office.