LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby dwighthowardsdad on Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:32 pm

A lot has happened to the Lakers since General Manager Mitch Kupchak last spoke in depth to reporters.

Dwight Howard left for Houston despite the Lakers' very public campaign to keep him. Metta World Peace was waived via the amnesty provision and quickly joined New York. Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson were all signed as free agents.

It leaves the Lakers … where, exactly?

But first, the obvious question for Kupchak, who spoke Monday to The Times in his first interview in more than a month:

How disappointed was he to lose Howard in free agency to the "little town" of Houston, as Shaquille O'Neal derisively called it?

"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."

With Kobe Bryant coming back at an unknown date from a torn Achilles' tendon, is it time to punt away next season and play for a high draft pick in 2014?

"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."

It's still hard to gauge Bryant's return date after having surgery in mid-April to repair his Achilles. The original timetable released by the team called for six to nine months of recovery time.

"Obviously, we're all hopeful and we all know Kobe. When you guess on Kobe, he always tries to prove you wrong," Kupchak said. "The reality is he's doing what he should be doing. He's making progress probably weekly.

"Does that mean five months is possible or it's really going to be eight or nine or 10? We just don't know. When he gets back in September, we'll take another look at him, but he hasn't been on a basketball court. It's really premature to try to predict other than try to be optimistic that he'll be ready for opening night or the 15th of November or the 1st of December or the 15th of December."

Nash and Gasol were miserable for the Lakers last season, missing a combined 65 games and struggling at both ends of the court.

Nash couldn't even finish the playoffs because of lingering issues from a broken left leg, and Gasol, who turned 33 this month, quickly underwent a postseason procedure to decrease tendon pain in both knees.

"I expect both those guys to participate in training camp. Kobe is obviously the wild card right now," Kupchak said.

"I spoke to Pau about two weeks ago for 45 minutes. He said he feels a lot better than he did a month ago. He was optimistic that he'd be ready for training camp. He does plan on playing three or four more years, and there's no reason why he shouldn't with his skill level.

"We saw Nash out here last week. If I had to guess, he feels he's in the 90th-percentile of where he wants to be. We still have two more months."

The Lakers begin training camp at the end of September, with the season starting a month later.

Nash and Robert Sacre are the only players with guaranteed contracts after next season, combining to make $10.6 million in 2014-15 and giving the Lakers plenty of purchasing power next July when a host of top-level players could become free agents — LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Randolph, Chris Bosh, Rudy Gay and Luol Deng. Restricted free agents could include Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe.

"I'm not sure if you'll see that Dwight Howard type of player go from team to team, although it is possible," Kupchak said. "We do feel Los Angeles is a destination spot. We have complete confidence in the organization, the city, our fan base, that we would be considered as a destination for players in the future. So we're hopeful going forward that the flexibility that we have will be beneficial."

Kupchak is not allowed to talk publicly about specific players on other teams, but he also alluded to the potentially talented pool of players who could be available two years from now, when Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Rajon Rondo could be free agents.

"You have to look beyond next year. You can't say we have all this flexibility and we're going to use it all next year," Kupchak said. "You don't know if you're going to use it for a free agent or a trade or to sign back Pau or Kobe. We're in the position where we can sit down at the end of the year and look and see what's best for the organization. We're in control, so to speak."

After years of trading or selling their first-round picks to other teams, the Lakers still hold their first-round pick in next year's draft, projected to be one of the strongest in almost a decade.

"In terms of the cycle that other teams go through, we're probably in as good a position as we could be," Kupchak said. "But there's a lot of unknowns. It's unpredictable what exactly is going to take place a year from now."

Kupchak maintained confidence in Coach Mike D'Antoni, who officially added Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis to his staff on Monday. "I think he's done a great job of putting a staff together that's enthusiastic, got a lot of energy and experience," Kupchak said.

Kupchak also liked the team's ability to sign Kaman, Young, Farmar and Johnson for a combined $6.5 million next season.

"This off-season if we did one thing, between the small forward and wing spot and backcourt, we got quicker and more athletic, something I think we needed," he said.

The Lakers currently have allocated $76.5 million to 11 players next season, about $5 million over the luxury-tax threshold.

An attempt to get under the threshold was "not something that we've discussed," Kupchak said. "You'd have to look to move two higher-priced players and we don't have plans for that."

Next season, not surprisingly, will come down to Bryant and Nash, who will be 35 and 39 by opening night.

"If they can both make a contribution in line with what they've done in the past, then we think we can win a bunch of games with this team," Kupchak said.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketbal ... z2aT2nuZYP
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby Rooscooter on Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:47 pm

What's he going to say?....
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby kenzo on Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:49 pm

Rondo and Love would made me happy :man12:
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby LakerJack on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:05 pm

Too many ifs on this team. If Kobe is not 100 % by training camp then let him sit out the season and trade off parts like Pau for draft choices or young players.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby Lakerjones on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:28 pm

Rooscooter wrote:What's he going to say?....


Agreed.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:47 pm

If the season is going down the toilet by the midseason mark, then trade Pau for a lottery pick.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby lakersin4 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:21 pm

dwighthowardsdad wrote:
An attempt to get under the threshold was "not something that we've discussed," Kupchak said. "You'd have to look to move two higher-priced players and we don't have plans for that."

Is this a direct response to the idea of moving Blake & Hill to get under the tax? I hope so.. This team isn't bad enough to get in the lottery, you don't go giving away good roleplayers on expiring contracts. If Kobe struggles to return & Pau/Nash continue with the injury bug & we're looking like a lottery team, then you have that conversation near the deadline. We won't have any problems finding a taker for J.Hill even with Blake attached to him. Mitch does a good job with these interviews.. I feel better about our future than I did before reading this. Good post DHD.
Last edited by lakersin4 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby therealdeal on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:22 pm

Good to hear from him.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby noobiew on Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:09 pm

I hate the new CBA, there is absolutely no way to get young stars now, the new CBA was to screw us the Lakers, the new CBA forces you to draft and build through the draft and not via the FA market, we are basically limited to get star players in their late 20 and early 30, by that time it's really hard to build a team and wait few years for team to gather chemistry and momentum cause they'll be too old, not to mention by the last few years of their contract you have an aging, often injured star in the downside of their career as they are now 33-34.

I wish the Lakers could get some young superstar like Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Paul George, Anthony Davis etc, but the new CBA means they would 100% resign with their team that drafted them to a max contract extension once their rookie contract was up, they will always get more and been rewarded when they resigned with their own team via the new CBA. By the time when these players are available, they would be 29-30 years old already.

Shaq signed with the Lakers via FA at the age of 24 year-old, Lebron James sign with Miami via FA at the age of 25 year-old, these cases will not happen again under the new CBA, in the new CBA you need to draft the young stars and couldn't depend on the FA market to get super young stars anymore. Many teams would tank hard for Andrew Wiggins next season.

In 2014 FA market, Lebron and Melo will be 30 (but Lebron is worth to get)
In 2015 FA market, Rondo will be 29, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol will both be 30

Our best bet is in 2016 when Durant and Kevin Love contact ended and will be available, both will be 28 year-old and still worth the max for you to build around.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby Phil XI on Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:19 pm

Love is 2015. He hates Minny so much he'll opt out of that 15-16 year. He'll get that 16m back.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby lakersin4 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:37 pm

noobiew wrote:I hate the new CBA, there is absolutely no way to get young stars now, the new CBA was to screw us the Lakers, the new CBA forces you to draft and build through the draft and not via the FA market, we are basically limited to get star players in their late 20 and early 30, by that time it's really hard to build a team and wait few years for team to gather chemistry and momentum cause they'll be too old, not to mention by the last few years of their contract you have an aging, often injured star in the downside of their career as they are now 33-34.

I wish the Lakers could get some young superstar like Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Paul George, Anthony Davis etc, but the new CBA means they would 100% resign with their team that drafted them to a max contract extension once their rookie contract was up, they will always get more and been rewarded when they resigned with their own team via the new CBA. By the time when these players are available, they would be 29-30 years old already.

Shaq signed with the Lakers via FA at the age of 24 year-old, Lebron James sign with Miami via FA at the age of 25 year-old, these cases will not happen again under the new CBA, in the new CBA you need to draft the young stars and couldn't depend on the FA market to get super young stars anymore. Many teams would tank hard for Andrew Wiggins next season.

In 2014 FA market, Lebron and Melo will be 30 (but Lebron is worth to get)
In 2015 FA market, Rondo will be 29, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol will both be 30

Our best bet is in 2016 when Durant and Kevin Love contact ended and will be available, both will be 28 year-old and still worth the max for you to build around.

There is a way to get young stars.. Morey did it.. Minne almost pulled it off with Batum.. I won't be surprised to see us target young fringe stars on that Lin/Asik/Batum level, guys that aren't going to get the max, but have the potential to become max players down the road.. Load up 1 year of an offer to make it difficult to match. I'm sure Mitch will use every move available to him to get us back to contending.
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Re: LA Times Article; Mitch says Lakers Won't Throw In the Towel

Postby Center Court on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:15 am

noobiew wrote:I hate the new CBA, there is absolutely no way to get young stars now, the new CBA was to screw us the Lakers, the new CBA forces you to draft and build through the draft and not via the FA market, we are basically limited to get star players in their late 20 and early 30, by that time it's really hard to build a team and wait few years for team to gather chemistry and momentum cause they'll be too old, not to mention by the last few years of their contract you have an aging, often injured star in the downside of their career as they are now 33-34.

I wish the Lakers could get some young superstar like Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Paul George, Anthony Davis etc, but the new CBA means they would 100% resign with their team that drafted them to a max contract extension once their rookie contract was up, they will always get more and been rewarded when they resigned with their own team via the new CBA. By the time when these players are available, they would be 29-30 years old already.

Shaq signed with the Lakers via FA at the age of 24 year-old, Lebron James sign with Miami via FA at the age of 25 year-old, these cases will not happen again under the new CBA, in the new CBA you need to draft the young stars and couldn't depend on the FA market to get super young stars anymore. Many teams would tank hard for Andrew Wiggins next season.

In 2014 FA market, Lebron and Melo will be 30 (but Lebron is worth to get)
In 2015 FA market, Rondo will be 29, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol will both be 30

Our best bet is in 2016 when Durant and Kevin Love contact ended and will be available, both will be 28 year-old and still worth the max for you to build around.



Young stars like George, Wall, Cousins, Irving, etc are all hard to get. That's never going to change. These guys have the chance to earn big money and if their team is offering it, they want to lock it up asap. I don'nt blame them.

It's the young vets like Love, Rondo, Hibbert, Melo, Bron, etc that will be more readily available. Especially once they've made money and now it's about wining and being part of a winning culture.

Now, I think it'll be interesting if the young stars (Wall, Irving, George, etc) are going to go for shorter term contracts at max dollars versus long term.
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