Tomorrow’s story tonight …
LAS VEGAS — General manager Mitch Kupchak and team vice president Jim Buss sat in section 104 of the Cox Pavilion watching the Lakers lose to the Sacramento Kings 84-72 in a summer league game Saturday.
They talked and watched and talked and watched, casually and easily and without any sense of urgency to their conversation. Every so often, Kupchak checked his phone for messages or to read or write text messages.
The rumor mill was cranked up to full throttle, with the Lakers said to be discussing a trade that would bring center Dwight Howard to Los Angeles from the Orlando Magic. Kupchak and Buss seemed a world away from the chatter, however.
Kupchak declined comment and Buss left his seat with the Lakers trailing 62-57 going into the fourth quarter. Kupchak spent the rest of the game watching the Lakers’ collection of rookies, second-year players and try-outs lose for the second straight day.
Kupchak said he continues attempts to re-sign backup forward Jordan Hill and expects talks on a contract extension for center Andrew Bynum to intensify “sooner rather than later.” Assuming Bynum is still a member of the Lakers, that is.
HoopsWorld.com reported Saturday the Lakers, Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers discussed a multi-player trade. Howard would go to the Lakers, Bynum would go to the Cavaliers and Orlando would receive a package of picks and prospects.
However, no deal was imminent, according to the website.
The Lakers and the Houston Rockets are said to be the front-runners to land Howard, who told the Magic on Friday he wasn’t willing to rescind his trade request and give a still-to-be-named coaching staff a chance.
The Cavaliers would ask that Bynum be signed to a long-term extension before entering into serious discussions about such a three-team trade, according to a Cleveland newspaper.
Kupchak would neither confirm nor deny the talks. He said his immediate priority was to strengthen the Lakers’ bench, which is heavy with guards and thin on forwards at present. Hill’s re-signing appears to be atop Kupchak’s to-do list.
“Absolutely, we need to work on our bench, get a stronger bench,” he said.
Kupchak also said he was in contact with Bynum’s agent, David Lee.
“I talk to his representative more than most representatives,” Kupchak said of Lee. “He’s deeply involved with his clients and he works hard with general managers on behalf of his clients. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had light discussions. …
“We’ll get to it sooner rather than later.”