Mitch Kupchak says Lakers won't throw in the towel next season
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.
Full Article (more regarding plans for cap space in 2014, etc.)
Edited by bfc1125roy, July 29, 2013 - 04:04 PM.