Monday , Aug , 13 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant & L.A. Lakers’ Fans Can’t Be Happy With Mitch Kupchak’s Comments

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t have Mitch’s back. Not after these comments. How can he be happy with the current talent on the purple-and-gold’s roster? Is he shooting for mediocrity? Best case scenario, these Lakers are a six-through-eight seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Worst case scenario, they miss the playoffs altogether …

The Daily News discusses the’ off-season with the team’s GM Mitch Kupchak:

On the team’s off-season:

Mitch Kupchak: If this was the team that we started the season off with, I would be fine with it. I feel that we’re an improved team over last year. I look at our team and look at a very balanced team with veteran and young players.

On the expectations and pressure:

MK: I do feel there is more pressure or more expectations to dramatically change this team. My season-ending comments were that we were going to be more aggressive than we normally are. That’s a byproduct of the season ending the way it did. But having said that, we’re not going to do deals or sign players just to do it. We’re going to do things we feel are going to improve the team. We feel that our team as it is structured right now, is improved over last year.

On Kevin Garnett going to the Boston Celtics:

MK: I think you could say 29 teams in the NBA today are looking at and saying, Wow, is that something they could have done and how much better are they going to be? Clearly that’s the deal of the offseason. Without talking about a particular player in this league, I know how much time we spent on being aggressive this summer. I know as an organization we did everything we could do to do a deal that would improve the team.

On future moves:

MK: Just because there hasn’t been a dramatic trade in July, doesn’t mean there won’t be one down the road. We’re only going to look to do something that is going to improve the team. We don’t want to go sideways. And certainly we don’t want to go backwards just because there are ‘expectations and pressure.

My Quick Take: In the past I have defended Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers’ GM. I felt he inherited a difficult set of circumstances and I also appreciated his blue-collar effort for the old school, showtime Lakers of the nineteen eighties.

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t have Mitch’s back. Not after these comments.

How can he be happy with the current talent on the purple-and-gold’s roster? Is he shooting for mediocrity? Best case scenario, these Lakers are a six-through-eight seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Worst case scenario, they miss the playoffs altogether.

Either scenario isn’t going to satisfy Laker-nation and their all-world superstar, . It won’t cut it. And Kupchak has justified Bryant’s frustration by publicly stating that he’s content with how things have unfolded this summer.

Bryant’s attitude often leaves something to be desired. But he wants to win. And that hunger for success and NBA Titles can never be questioned. Ever. Bryant demands the best from himself and everyone around him, while Kupchak, the team’s GM, the person who is supposed to set an example, is content with simply making the effort to improve.

What are the players supposed to think? Losing is okay provided you made the effort.

Bryant understands the NBA doesn’t award little league ribbons for trying your best.  And he won’t roll with anyone who is satisfied with being a bridesmaid. That applies to on-court play or trying to acquire Jason Kidd or Kevin Garnett. Second place only counts in horseshoes.

With this in mind, can we be surprised there’s trouble in Hollywood? Can we be surprised that the NBA’s glamour team is so absolutely dysfunctional right now? And can we be surprised that Bryant wants a trade?

The Lakers must do more than overhaul their playing roster; they must overhaul their front office, too. Kupchak is like Rob Babcock in Toronto.  He’s over-matched and out of his element; the Lakers must find a Bryan Colangelo type of executive who can quickly rebuild the roster, manage the politics of dealing with the Buss family, and get Bryant to buy-in to his vision.

And, most importantly, their new GM can’t be happy with simply making the effort to improve.

What do you think of Mitch Kupchak’s comments? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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