Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was recently interviewed by Lakers beat reporters about the state of the team, and for the most part, he said a whole lot of nothing. Among the drivel, he mentioned how bad he felt for Steve Nash, how Mike D’Antoni has done a great job under very trying circumstances, and how he felt about this year’s draft. However, he did hint that this year, the team’s approach at the trade deadline might be a little different because of their current record, which is tied for worst in the Western Conference.
There has been recent reports from numerous media sources that the market for Pau Gasol has all but dissipated, mainly because teams are not willing to offer much of anything for the aging Spaniard. Something tells me Kupchak leaked this story in an attempt to get the demand for Gasol to heat up among fellow GMs. You always want what you can’t have and if the Lakers have temporarily pulled the plug on Gasol trade talks, there is a good chance another team might try to re-open negotiations with Kupchak at some point, hopefully on Laker terms.
If you look at the history of Kupchak’s trades, they have seemingly came out of nowhere. The initial Gasol to the Lakers trade had absolutely no steam to it until it finally happened. The same can be said about the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, which was inexplicably vetoed by David Stern due to a conflict of interest, also ironically involving Gasol. So, do not be surprised if a wild card team emerges to acquire Gasol at the last minute and ponies up a first round pick, which is what Kupchak and the Lakers covet going forward.
If Gasol isn’t dealt, look for the purple and gold to package a few of their veterans to a playoff team that needs help off the bench. Any combination of Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Chris Kaman, Nick Young and Jordan Hill could get the job done, again with the intent of getting an asset or pick in return, with all five of these current Lakers being unrestricted free agents in the offseason.
Let’s sit back and watch what Kupchak does. I get the feeling all of this sitting pat talk is one big smokescreen.