Ronny Turiaf loved the Lakers as much as his coaches and teammates loved him.
But when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called his big man into the office last summer, the day before the deadline to match the Warriors' offer sheet for Turiaf, both already knew it was time for Turiaf to go.
Andrew Bynum was on the mend. The frontcourt was loaded. The Lakers were flirting with the luxury tax.
Kupchak, who had seen Turiaf through his open-heart surgery in 2005, needed only a few minutes of their three-hour conversation to reconfirm what was best for both sides.
"He asked me straight up, 'Ronny, you going to be happy playing maybe six, 10 minutes a game?' Turiaf said Tuesday. "I looked at him and I'm like, 'Mitch, you know I'm a team guy, that's all I care about, but I'd feel like I'd be not happy playing at all.' ...
"I had the opportunity to come to a team where I feel like I'm very, very counted on. And that's the ultimate great feeling for a basketball player to have."