Lakers Get Dwight Howard; Mitch Kupchak Is Best GM In NBA
Kupchak brings Dwight Howard to Lakers
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: This is only the most recent in a career of shrewd moves since Kupchak became the Lakers general manager.
Kupchak was essentially the assistant GM under Lakers legend Jerry West from 1986 until 2000 when West left the team. His first moves upon becoming GM was acquiring Karl Malone and Gary Payton for a title run in 2004, though the Lakers came up short against Detroit in the Finals.
Kupchak has also taken a ton of “heat” during his tenure; the most notable incident was finally settling the feud between Shaq and Kobe by dealing O’Neal to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and Caron Butler. He was heavily criticized at the time, but obviously in hindsight, keeping a young Bryant while dumping an aged O’Neal (even though Shaq got a title in South Beach), has proven to be the best thing for the organization.
After that, he acquired Trevor Ariza from Houston for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans, and getting the most out of Ariza that he ever produced as a pro. Then he promptly dumped Ariza and signed then Ron Artest as a free agent when everyone else had essentially given up on him.
Bringing Pau Gasol to the Lakers in 2008 for Kwame Brown and picks ultimately led to two titles. In the words of Kobe Bryant, the trade made Kupchak go from “An F to an A,” as a GM in Kobe’s opinion.
Last year, Lamar Odom was dealt to the Mavericks, the Lakers chief rival in the Western Conference, for a cap exemption and everyone criticized the move, even Kobe Bryant. Odom went on to have the worst year, and possibly last year, of his career, while he used the exemption as part of the deal to acquire Steve Nash from Phoenix.
Kupchak spent 15 years under a GM who led the Lakers to three consecutive titles and with the acquisition of Dwight Howard amongst others, it’s obvious that Kupchak has made the transition from student to master.
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