Mitch Kupchak on Mike D’Antoni: “He’s under contract for two more years”

Among the bullet points on Mitch Kupchak’s exit interview Friday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo:

–Mike D’Antoni’s future. “He’s under contract for two more years. If that changes, if there’s anything to share with you, we will.” D’Antoni has one guaranteed season worth $4 million followed by a team option for the 2015-16 season.
—Kupchak’s evaluation on D’Antoni
–Kupchak downplayed negative public support on D’Antoni affecting his decision: “I’m not exactly sure what you’re basing your information on, if you did a poll. Or if there’s been a poll. Certainly, I do listen to the radio and I’m aware of what’s being said, but I can’t comment. I know internally, we didn’t canvas our 19000 seat holders and we don’t have an answer to what you’re proposing.”

“Probably the best way to answer your question is: We care about what our fans think. We think they’re great fans and they support us. And we are going to try to give them something better and better every year. But a lot of times, at the end of the day, we’re forced to make decisions quickly and sometimes decisions on information that we have that a lot of our fans don’t have. Sometimes that decision might not be what the fan wants. But over the course of time, I think they’ve come to trust us, that it will be the right decision.”

–Kupchak downplayed Kobe Bryant going to France before the season ended: “First of all, I did not know he was leaving town. Second of all, I think it’s a bigger story to everybody here than it really is to us. And you’re asking the question so I have to address the question, so I end up talking about it and maybe it becomes a bigger story than it should be. But, we had a tough year.Kobe’s had a really tough two years. He’s had two career-threatening injuries. He’s had to live through the season that we had to live through together. This is his 18thspoken to him in the last day or two, I understand leaving town he is going to see his medical consultant in Europe. So, all things considered, to me, it’s not that big of a deal.”

–Kupchak expressed optimism about Steve Nash’s recovery, but conceded he needs to build better enforcements: “We certainly we can’t sit here and say, ‘Let’s just get a backup for Steve Nash and we’ll be fine. We’re going to have to cover that position.'”

–Kupchak said it was possible Bryant could play for another extension, which ends in the 2015-16 season

–Kupchak said it’s “a possibility” he will trade his draft pick

–Kupchak on financial flexibility :”Just have to wait and see. But like I said, there is a degree of patience here. It’s not like we’ve worked four years to create financial flexibility and now no matter and if we can use it wisely right away, we will. If we have to use part of it and wait on July 8 where we’ve got to spend it all or lose it all. We have to make sure that we use it wisely.”

–Kupchak on whether it’s a priority on re-signing Pau Gasol: “Is he a priority? Absolutely he’s a priority. I don’t know why, if you look at the free agent board or the guys who you think may be free agents, there’s probably not a player as good as Pau on the board. But, you know, he’s waited a bunch of years to become a free agent and July 1st get phone calls. So, we’ll do our best to stay on top of it and I think Pau has a great relationship with the organization. I know he loves the city. But he’ll be pursued and he’ll have options and we’ll just have to see what the market place dictates, really.” Kupchak then added that Gasols admitting D’Antoni’s future partly playing a factor into his decision won’t influence whatsoever whether he stays

-Kupchak expressed interest in re-signing Gasol, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, but noted that their attraction in open market makes that issue complicated


Mike D’Antoni optimistic he will return next season

For once, Pau Gasol has leverage with the Lakers

Steve Nash’s position is secure with the Lakers, but is his health?

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  • Bruin’77

    Should look to resign Paul, Hill, and Farmar-‘NOT Young, an overpriced (next year) gunner. If you can’t get Farmar, go after Steve Blake or Darren Collison.

    Dump d’Antoni- has been terrible for two years now.

  • Shawn davis

    Get out of la mike D’Antoni I’m not happy with this man I’m a Laker fan and I do not like it Brandon Barnes scott we have opportunity to get Kyrie Irving we can get some draft picks we can start our rebuilding process

  • Shawn davis

    LA all day