Despite being in the midst of the worst season in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers announced they have agreed to a multiyear extension with general manager Mitch Kupchak. While the team has struggled mightily this season, that certainly can’t be blamed on Kupchak, and over the years he has proven to be one of the NBA’s best general managers.
Since succeeding Jerry West as Lakers general manager in 2000, Kupchak has presided over four NBA championship teams and six Western Conference champions. He has been with the organization since he retired as a player in 1986.
Kupchak’s contract details have never been made public, but he had at least one year remaining on his current deal. By extending him, the Lakers have given some stability to the front office. It also shows that the Buss family respects him as a decision-maker and will likely give him a free hand to remake the team’s roster.
During his time with the team, Kupchak has pulled off trades to acquire All-Stars Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul (though the Paul deal was later negated by the NBA league office) and Steve Nash. Additionally, he made moves that landed key role players that contributed to championships like Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and Ron Artest. He also managed to convince Kobe Bryant to stay with the franchise for his entire career.
With the Lakers headed into a summer where they will have tons of salary cap space and a lottery pick, you can bet Kupchak and his cohorts will come up with something to improve the roster.
The Lakers have lost 53 games this season, which ties the most in franchise history. The team will also miss the playoffs for just the third time since 1976. But given the team’s salary cap situation, there wasn’t much Kupchak or anyone else could have done to avoid what was always going to be a difficult season.
His contract extension makes perfect sense for both parties.