According to ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne, the Los Angeles Lakers and GM Mitch Kupchak have reached an agreement on a multiyear contract extension. Kupchak has been a part of the Lakers brain trust since 1986 and became the General Manager shortly after the Lakers title in the 2000 season. He has presided over four NBA Championship teams during his time with the Lakers.
Though the Lakers are suffering through their worst season in years and certainly under Kupchak’s watch, there is little doubt that Kupchak is one of the best GM’s in the NBA. Moreover, his reputation throughout the league as a tough negotiator and shrewd businessman is an important asset to the Lakers franchise.
This extension, according to Shelburne, is essentially a vote of confidence from the Buss family to Kupchak. The Lakers ownership believes that Kupchak is the go forward guy and that he is the man to build another championship caliber roster in Los Angeles. Kupchak certainly has the pedigree and savvy to piece together another championship caliber roster; however, he is bound by Kobe Bryant‘s contract and by the NBA salary cap, not to mention Jim Buss and all of the headaches that he causes.
The Lakers couldn’t have found anyone better for the job than Kupchak and he knows the organization, and the league, inside and out. While we all would have loved to have seen Phil Jackson working alongside Kupchak to rebuild the Lakers, that simply wasn’t in the cards. We have faith in Kupchak. The problem, as always, is that Jim Buss is in the way. If Kupchak want to build another championship team in LA, he is going to need to find a way to use Buss effectively or tell him to get out of the way. If Kupchak keeps the status quo, the Lakers will have some major issues attracting free agents in the near future.