He has truly earned our respect.

ESPN: Mitch Kupchak always seems to be in the right place at the right time. At least that’s the common misconception about the Los Angeles Lakers general manager who never gets credit for not only maintaining a championship team for three years but for rebuilding a new one three years later.

Kupchak is the quiet, unassuming player at the poker table — never getting too aggressive or taking big risks yet always seems to end up with all the chips in the end.

When he traded for Pau Gasol two years ago, he was called a thief. When he drafted 17-year-old Andrew Bynum five years ago, he was called crazy and, after Bynum slowly developed into one of the best centers in the NBA, he was called lucky. When he replaced fan-favoriteTrevor Ariza with Ron Artest last year, he was called foolish and, when Artest proved to be the hero in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, he was called fortunate.

Call him whatever you want but Kupchak, more often than not, has been right since taking over for Jerry West a decade ago.

While general managers around the NBA throw $120 million contracts at the likes of Joe Johnson, Kupchak quietly re-signed Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to contract extensions this past season. Both moves, by the way, were announced via nondescript afternoon press releases as opposed to a prime-time special.

Few front office executives know the NBA landscape as well as Kupchak, who played for the Washington Bullets and the Lakers from 1976-1986 and joined the Lakers’ front office upon retirement in 1986. You’ll never see Kupchak overpay for a player or bid against himself for a player. He knows the market too well. He knows how much a player can get and knows what it will take to get him.

Try to bluff Kupchak all you want but chances are he’ll call you out and make you pay in the end.

Continue reading ‘Mitch Kupchak deserves more credit’

  • Billy

    Jerry West’s protégé… we love Mitch.

  • Kobe279

    Yeah i agree Mitch hasn’t been getting the credit he deserves. Mitch you’re a great GM but i must say i thought the Lakers were in some trouble when we had Smush Parker and all those sorry guys but you prove me wrong. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

    • Poopsicle

      he used them as pawns. haha. The only good thing kwame did for us, was giving us gasol.

  • Joseph

    they didn’t mention the goofs & gaffs of M.K.

    like salary liabilities of TheMachine & TheWaltonator

    • Kobe279

      yeah u got a point.

      • 242LakerFan

        Really? I don’t see it. Name one GM in any sports league who doesn’t have some questionable, even outright dud decisions on his record. The positive moves clearly outweigh the bad ones in Mitch Kupchak’s case. Just look at the trophy case at Staples. I rest my case.

        • Laker s Army

          Stupid he has made some dumb trades. Caron Butler
          Pau was agift from Jerry because the Grizzles treated him like shit. So he did what Mc Hale did and fucked his team to show pride to his OG team.

        • LakersFirst

          Laker’s Army – Regarding the Pau Gasol trade, Jerry West has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. He was NOT employed by Memphis at the time of the trade and not only did Jerry say that he had nothing to do with the trade, he went on to say that if he was GM of Memphis, he would’ve demanded Lamar Odom in that trade. It was no secret that at the time, Gasol was being shopped because Chicago was trying to get him. The difference is though, the Chicago GM didn’t get the job done, Mitch did.

    • LakersFirst

      What GM hasn’t made mistakes? None of them are perfect. At the end of the day, Mitch’s positives outweigh his negatives and the result has been BACK TO BACK championships.

      • BigSal

        Yes for sure. Criticizing Mitch for the way he has run the lakers is like criticizing Cindy Crawford for that mole on her face.

  • LakErS 3 pEaT

    GM of the year for Lakers fans!

  • gugy

    Mitch deserves all the credit. He really is stepping out West’s shadow.
    Happy for him, great moves this off season. Lakers look really good and read to bring #17.

    • Odom the worst player

      Not Great moves, ok moves but we should have signed T-mac and Shaq daddy

      • KM

        easier said than done, and those players would also have to agree a lesser salary

      • LbC Ya562

        PLEASE tell me your kiddin….. T-mac…. who hasn’t had a healthy/playable season in what… 3,4,5 seasons??? HELL NO!! Im a T-Mac fan, but as a player on the Lakers Nahhhh!, and SHAQ!?…… After all the shit he talked??… I HIGHLY doubt Kobe/Mitch/Dr Buss would let his old washed up ass come in and mess with our chemistry!

      • 24/8

        Hahaahaha, no. T-Mac was great, now he’s good. Not good enough to sign, though. We need a healthy guy who is tough and can play defense, not someone with a weak knee who thinks he’s a star. And Shaq would be useless. Even if he would accept a minimum contract (which he won’t). All he does is make stupid comments and slow down offenses. We’ve already got Shaq – his name is Bynum.

      • PRLaker

        so, you would like to have two has been in the roster that will likely not finish the season due to injury?, we don’t need shaq, or mcgrady damn it. All that shaq has done in the last couple of years in trying to one up kobe, fuck him.

  • Laker s Army

    What about the great signings of Luke Sasha Kwame Slava ,Brian Cook all these guys suck.
    Yes Mitch you did good. But the Pau deal was a gift from Jerry West getting back at the fucked up Grizzlies team for there bad way of treating him. C mon what fucking idiot would take Kwame for Pau . Inside trade deal. Good job for making it happen.
    Now get rid of Luke and Sasha and yes you will be a great Gm. Get T mac here and next year a good point guard and this team will be smokin hot.
    Also Bynum is still suspect he has not played a full season and is a injury prone player

    • 24/8

      The Grizzlies were idiots, yes, but not because they let West screw them by trading Pau for Kwame. West has said he had nothing to do with it. The Grizzlies had better offers for Pau but what they wanted was expiring contracts. They wanted money and to get under the cap. What other teams were offering were actual useful players, not what Memphis wanted.

      T-Mac is done. He would be a good backup player on a team that doesn’t play hard defense or the triangle offense. T-Mac’s knee won’t let him be as effective as even someone like Barnes. Bell would have been better for the Lakers, too.

      Bynum is not injury-prone. You can’t blame other people falling into his knees on him. That’s like saying you are accident-prone if you are stopped at red lights and other drivers rear-end your car two or three times in a row. You can’t help that. Bynum couldn’t help the first knee injury (stepped on Odom’s foot, dislocated kneecap) or the second one (Kobe fell into his knee). This year was his problem, he tore cartilage in his knee. So this is his first true injury that can’t be blamed on anyone else.

      • http://twitter.com/matt_barnes22 KM

        Most people who talk that boring tired “lucky” talk about how the Lakers were lucky to land PG16 are useless and dumb- are people who don’t know how to run a business and bball is about prospects + current salaries and results.. They much like when the Heat got Shaq thats another example of GM’s making the most of a trade, and right there I mentioned 2 proven-solid GM’s who like to trade for NOW who have the available talent NOW to win in the future.. the Grizzlies were a team in rebuilding mode willing to shed Gasol’s large bulky salary to get decent cap relief, future draft picks, and prospects in return.. and teams always do that just not all the names are big enough, so when it happens and the team who sought the trade gets successful, people go on about how it was LUCK.

  • Laker s Army

    Im all for giving credit where its do but what really have you done. Matt Barnes had no where else to go and neither does Shannon nobody wants them.
    Odom called Barnes a Monkey so he had to suck it up and play some place. Who would go play where a player called you a monkey.
    Getting rid of Mo Benga Powell AMO and Jordan was a no brainer they all suck. If ytou notice they either went to a non contender or got one year deals or at the car wash on inglewood blvd.
    Mitch we still need a point guard. Devin Harris for Luke and Sasha would be a good trade . Oh but wait who the fuck wants these two slugs

    • lilkobe24

      Biggest scrub out of them all. No one wants Matt Barnes? Do you watch or read basketball??? SCRUB. If you didn’t notice, Sasha played well in 08. That’s when he got his contract extension. Luke is just injured all season long. Already have Blake and Fisher, and still need a point guard??? Biggest Scrub goes to you. Congrats, you out scrub lakeb.

      • babak

        lakers army has no idea what hes talkin about.. JErry West was not the GM of memphis at the time of the gasol trade… get that through your thick head.. and Matt Barnes is a solid player….you dont watch enough basketball… get a life kid

        • laker warrior

          be bak your fucking Idiot. It was a pay back to memphis for
          Jerry West being unhappy with managment. The only one stupider than you that take Kwame for Pau was memphis .
          Everyone knows it was a inside trade.

          • babak

            dude u need to learn how to spell before you call people stupid.. my name is babak.. not be bak.. and dude thats all speculation.. u know this for a fact or are you just listening to what everyone else is saying.. your dumb. the nba is a business…… give up your best player to make jerry west happy? stupid.. whatever man.. your retarted.. it was a salary dump by memphis.. they wanted to rebuild.. kwame had an expiring contract.. and memphis also got Marc Gasol which turned out good for them.. so shut up .. get ur facts straight

      • LbC Ya562

        Yea, dude obviously dont know what the hell he talkin about. LMAO… nobody wants Matt Barnes….OK! Dude took probably more than HALF of a pay cut to come play with the Lakers. Cuz of a man named Kobe Bryant! Kobe and Matt are profesionals, their little fight was on court, its part of the game. And who gives a damn what Odom said, all kinds of Pplayers talk sh*t about eachother. I bet they play damn good togethor too.

      • BigSal

        You have been a Mitch basher and kobe kiss asser. It is time for you to kiss the ass of Mitch as much as you do kobe.

  • Lakers_The_Truth

    Dude.
    Mitch made mistakes in the past like you pointed out but he has been very consistent lately trimming the bad players and bringing quality help. The result is the rings.
    Cut the guy some slack. I am sure he is aware of Luke and Sasha and in the end we just did not have the $ to bring a PG of the level you want. We are fine with Fisher and Blake.

  • Carlos Osorio

    Sometimes us Lakers fans are never satisfied. Reason being because we are too spoiled and we have never been like the majority of NBA teams who have gone years being beyond medicore to rebuild again. Mitch, yes he has of course done some dumb moves over the years, but I agree with a lot of comments on here he has been very consistent as of late. Yes, we all know the Pau Gasol trade was a gift. But hey we will take it. Just remember, summer of 07 KG wanted to come here. That trade was not going to happen since Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale got together to come up with their own trade. Jerry West, of course was a whiz and never really had a flaw. But if there is one flaw Jerry West had was hiring Del Harris. Till this day that is the only one I can think of is hiring that clown. If we had a quality coach with that team we had, we would have dethroned the Bulls.

    • laker realist

      eddie jones, elden cambell for glen rice=dumb jerry west trade

      • Carlos Osorio

        Yes, I stand corrected on that one. How the hell can I forget about that trade!!! Yes, that trade really hurt because Eddie Jones could have been something special if he stayed with us instead. Elden Campbell was actually a solid back up when Shaq was hurt. And the other move, trading away Nick Van Exel and a week later fire Del Harris. Del Harris was the problem!!

  • Carlos Osorio

    Like I said, just trips me out how some of us Lakers fans will just wont be satisfied. Hell, we are back to back champions. Im pretty sure any other franchise will take that in a heart beat. And if you look at it, we have won at most 75% percent with our players being banged up these last 2 championships. 08 and I know Im going with the what if factor, a healthy Bynum and Ariza would have made a difference against the C’s but we will never know. Let’s hope that for once everyone is at 100% percent and that will tell the story.

    • Kobe279

      dont say we lakers fans wont be satisfied the bottom line is that Luke Walton and Sasha Vujaic are not good players im so tired of people not telling the truth GET RID OF THEIR SORRY ASS.

      • Carlos Osorio

        Well of course trade away Luke. But how, we are stuck with his damn contract unless we buy him out. Sasha just can get back in the mix this year if he can stay healthy. Like his intensity on defense.

  • Sal jimenez

    I well give you a A+ good job

    • Odom the worst player

      First of all Jerry West made the Gasol Trade, and I think it was stupid to sign Barnes and Ratlift, instead of McGrady and Shaq

      • Kobe279

        i dont think we should do that both players haven’t prove they can stay health.

        • Odom the worst player

          Good point

          • lilkobe24

            scrub.

      • http://www.jackyang.info Jack Y.

        Are you retarded? LO is not the worst player. Also, that pathetic Shaq has jumped ships on every team. He has talked crap about every team he left. He also indicated he wants a contract that pays more than 5.8 million a year. ESPN sources confirmed that teams are only willing to offer him around 2-3 million a year. Shaq is too old, too ineffective, too much of a cancer in the locker room to get paid 5.8 million a year.
        .
        In T-Mac’s case, I’m sure T-mac wants somewhere close to the full MLE. We don’t have that kind of money.

      • PRLaker

        again, we dony need them, if you’re so upset, go watch the clippers or something damn!

  • Yellowpurplefever

    “DO IT MITCH !!!” Got to love it. Go Lakers!

  • Eidraq

    great offseason for the lakers…shame on me for inquiring (again) about his gm skills..good work mitch

  • Robert.

    I think he’s got the hang of it now. I don’t expect any more faux pas’s from Kup. Also, the combination of the recession and the upcoming cap renegotiation seem to make it more difficult for players to work the system (even LeBron had to take a pay cut, just to play in Miami). It’s more of a GM’s league now (and, now that the ‘Summer of FA 2010′ is just about over – there won’t be another like it for a long time).
    .
    The Lakers ‘core’ will be here for a few years, so it is just a matter of filling the roster with the right role players to keep it going the right way.
    .
    I think that there will be nothing but more success in that area (this year’s activity is a good example!).

  • lakers0828

    Yeah After I herd Jerry West had Retired I thought the Hay days and Glory days of the Lakers were over for a while but it too just 3 yrs to get back into the finals he has done well he has risen the Lakers to new levels and gave kobe bryant more tallent and pleased the laker Fans as well !!

  • ???

    guys im worried our team is kinda of old should i be worry? please respond.

    • http://www.jackyang.info Jack Y.

      … How is our team old? Did our team play old in the playoffs? The number don’t matter, it’s the ability to perform that counts.
      .
      Are you blind that you couldn’t see that the reason why every game was low scoring in the finals is because of the defense played by both teams?

      • Kobe 279

        BITCH DONT GET SMART WITH ME I’LL PEE IN YO MOUTH, I WAS JUST ASKING A QUESTION.

        • KM

          people who complain about age don’t know basketball.. lol a couple a years ago kobe, gasol, odom, artest were all in their late 20s but since mitch had to put a team basically when it was reasonable for the team (money), and to get them acquainted with the triangle system. In this case you are just adding on more experienced veterans who are proven to step up in the playoffs not be scrubs. Another thing to consider is the fact many teams play their best in the middle of their career curve meaning 28-34. And past teams Lakers, Bulls, Pistons etc all had vets in their roster.. this is nothing new, Bulls were notably older teams, during their last threepeat.

          • Kobe 279

            BITCH DONT TELL ME I DONT KNOW BASKETBALL I WAS JUST ASKING A QUESTION U PIECE OF SHIT.

          • KM

            all caps fail, memo to little spoiled brat– “We don’t care”.

            Your question also blows, so ask better questions. Oh-I answered your question, u happy now? Or we need to go hard on you lil one?

  • 12gage

    well your moms is old but she still works like a charm :)

    • Kobe 279

      FUCK U IT WAS JUST A QUESTION

      • 242LakerFan

        The simple answer is “Yes”, but that is why you retain the two young draft picks ans start building for a future with younger players. The veterans this team has added will allow us to win now. Then, when Phil is gone and Kobe stats really slowing down (not ESPN slowing down), we have a younger group to start rebuilding with.

        • LbC Ya562

          Im HOPING when Kobe is ready to retire he can convince a young guy in his mid 20′s who is a beast to come to L.A. so he can pass the torch. LoL….HOPING

    • KM

      She knows how to back itup. :D

  • Robert.

    I think with modern sports health science, players are able to last longer, and actually are ‘conscientious’ about it as well.
    .
    Cases in point:
    .
    Amar’e Stoudemire – microfracture surgery. In the past (and I mean 80s, 90s), an injury like the one Amar’e had was ‘career ending’.
    .
    Steve Nash – dislocated disk. Yes, Steve plays with a dislocated disk. He is in his late 30s, and still playing well. He has a trainer that has helped him figure out a strategy to play ‘injured’.
    .
    Derek Fisher – Derek is in good shape. He always ‘did’ have problems with faster guards, it’s not new. And, I don’t recall him ever being injured.
    .
    Andrew Bynum – again, ‘career ending’ knee/leg injuries. He did pretty well considering.
    .
    Kobe Bryant – his injuries are too numerous to count here. He is still in ‘great’ form. He doesn’t make ‘crazy fast’ moves anymore, but I see him doing well for years to come.
    .
    All in all, players in the NBA CAN play longer than the players years ago – eat healthier – have more experienced trainers – sports science has reached new levels. So – 30s is NO LONGER OLD in the NBA.
    .
    Only at ESPN (read 242′s comment).

    • laker realist

      what the hell is a dislocated disc haha

      • Robert.

        well, it’s a condition in which one of the disks in your back tends to ‘slip out’ of its position. My father had a ‘slipped disk’ (or dislocated disk), and had to have back surgery, which actually was a lot worse than the injury.
        .
        Steve Nash’s disk slips out every once in a while, and maybe even during games it’s ‘tricky’. It’s painful, and for some difficult to even move with this condition, let alone play NBA style basketball for 82 games year after year.

  • Drake Ramoray

    Mitch has done a great job so far, but if he resigns Shannon Brown, he’ll be back at square one again. Shannon is a scrub like Walton and Sasha. The whole point is to get rid of these scrubs, not bring them back. So what if Shannon throws down an occasional big dunk every other game or so. The guy has no basketball skills. He can’t dribble or shoot yet he’s asking for at least 3 million? I have to believe that the Laker organization has to know this and thats why they haven’t resigned Shannon. If Luke goes on IR, two players I would be happy to get for the vets minimum would be Jerry Stackhouse or Larry Hughes. They aren’t great and we don’t need them to be but their both a helluvalot better than Shannon Brown. PLEASE DO NOT RESIGN Shannon Brown. If there was a petition we could sign and send to the Lakers front office to encourage them not to resign Shannon, I would sign it a million times!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KM

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/nba.free.agent.tracker/index.html -=== look at the nice, long list of available Free Agent G/SG SG/SF comboes, that could be had.. Shannon while at the top of the list of FA’s isn’t the most skill of them, he can shoot the basket, and go for high % dunks,, matter fact one can argue that at least 1 FG attempt accounted for 2 pts of his 8 PPG he got with the Lakers just off open lanes he got from the doubles Kobe got

    • KM

      Agreed on your 2 player reccomendations there. One big beef we all have about S.B. is his 1 dimensional game, and that can only do so much for us next year.. while the conference is now regarded as “weak” it is by no means a walk in the park, and the right pieces need to be had for the vets min etc.. 3? As in Mil? Not likely it’s going to happen, Stackhouse and a whole host of guys who’ve never been close to a championship who are hungry are there waiting for the Laker call lol. Only good thing you could say about Shannon at this point is he knows the triangle better than most, but yet he has not capitalized on his opportunities. And judging from the Lakers FO’s past drafts, etc these big deals haven’t panned out, and as a result they are weary of unproven players asking for big dough.

      • Drake Ramoray

        Very well said KM. There’s alot of bargain basement players still available for the league minimum that would satisfy the lakers coming off the bench at a much cheaper price than what Shannon “one densional” Brown is asking for. I would even take Flip Murray as Kobes back up for one million than resign Shannon to a multi-year deal. If Luke really is done, we need to get a proven vet in here and not Shannon Brown

  • CELTICS ALL DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BEAT L.A !!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAT L.A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAT L.A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LAKERS SUCK BALLS 9-3 IN THE FINALS WE FUCKING DOMINATE U BITCHES.

    • TOUCHING_MYSELF

      I love how these moronic Celd!ck fans cling onto ancient history! They talk about how proud they ONCE WERE. How they USED to dominate in the late 50s and into the 60s. That’s like how EGYPT can boast of how long their rule was over the world, and look at them now!

      You can claim whatever you want, but EVERYBODY knows that it’s the Celd!cks from Cockston @$$achusetts that SUCK right now! Can’t deny that FACT! Our Lakers kicked your @$$ in GAME 7 and took the championship… so, it is the Celd!cks that SUCK!

      You can keep dredging up your history books and look at your Bob Cousys, Bill Russells, and other forgettable Celd!ck players to comfort you to sleep, but you still can’t get that GAME 7 sting out of your mind or heart! Feel that sting, sense the venom enveloping your desire to breathe because you just can’t get the PURPLE and GOLD out of your memory!

      It’s all about what have you done for me lately… and fact is, the Celd!cks ain’t done sh!t except to take care of our light work for us (the Cavs)! And you guys will probably do the same again this season with the Heat. But you’ll still lose to our DOMINATE LAKERS!

      EGYPT was a place of prominence, but now it’s only a dry and barren desert. Conversely, it’s all sunshine, waves, and greenery in Los Angeles!

      SO SUCK CELD!CKS AND CELD!CK FANS!!!!! SUCK IT!

      GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!

      • PRLaker

        touching myself?, what the f^&k?

    • Kobe 279

      GET THE FUCK OFF THE DEFENDING CHAMPS WEBSITE. BITCH YOUR JUST MAD BECAUSE YALL GOT MAN HANDLE IN THE FUCKING FINALS WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT 9-3? OH YEAH REMEMBER BITCH WE’RE THE CHAMPS!!!!!!!! ONE MORE THING IT TOOK YALL 22 YEARS JUST TO MAKE THE FINALS DAMN !!!!!!!!! LAKERS ALL DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/matt_barnes22 KM

      Lakers were never irrelevant and a “steer-away” destination in the NBA.. it stings you that your Boston market is no longer a top destination to go to, and players would rather go to the Southern states instead.. it stings you that Boston isn’t a sexy market, it’s old, it’s washed up, it’s very ginger-like, pasty, annoying.. and nobody likes your history, your team won all its titles in the 60s, the Lakers won 5 of the past 15 years.. 5!

      It stings you that the Lakers will always continue to be a playoff team and contending for championships. And that Kobe is one first ballot hall of famer.

      Keep your bad weather, you horrible washed up accent, your red sox streak, now its the Celd*ck streak, keep your memories and eat YUM!

      • 242LakerFan

        What are you saying? I think Boston Market is a great place to go to. Their roast chicken is the bom-diggity!
        LOL!!!

        • TOUCHING_MYSELF

          I agree with a lot of your views 242, but HELL NO on this one! Boston Market has ran its course and it sucks now… extremely reminiscent of the Celd!cks! They ran their course in the late 50s and 60s and now they SUCK!

    • http://lakernation gwforum

      MAN FUCC THE BOSTON CELTICS!! GET OVER IT BITCH!! LAKERS BEAT BOSTON IN THE DECIDING GAME 7! BOSTONS TIME IS UP!! 2009&2010&MORE!! WITNESS ANOTHER LAKERS DYNASTY!! THE CEL-TRICCS! ARE 2 DAMN OLD!! JERMAINE ONEAL ?? YALL OFF SEASON PIC-UP?? R U SERIOUS??LOL I HOPE YALL MAKE IT 2 DA FINALS NEXT YEAR,THIS TIME WE WILL SWEEP U OLD MUTHAFUCCAS!! RESPECT UR WORLD CHAMPION LA. LAKERS!!! & GET DA FUCC OUT DA LAKER NATION BITCH!! FUCC THE BOSTON CELTRICKS!! & ALL THEIR HATIN ASS FANS!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! PS. WE WILL 3-PEAT!!

  • http://lakernation gwforum