NBA Draft: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak sounds skeptical about trading No. 2 pick

LA Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak  sounded skeptical he would trade the No. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze

LA Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak sounded skeptical he would trade the No. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze

The phone presumably has stayed glued to his ear, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak furiously tracking down various agents to set up draft workouts through the next few weeks that could entail seeing up to 80 prospects.

But amid all those phone conversations in the past week, Kupchak said he has not heard anything enticing that would convince him to trade the Lakers’ No. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA draft.

Said Kupchak: “It would have to be a heck of an opportunity for us to consider doing something like that.”

What would it take for Kupchak to suddenly find an offer too good to pass up?

“You have to weigh it against who you would get as the second pick,” Kupchak said. “We’re a little bit impatient. So if you came across something that made your team better quicker, that would probably be a veteran. That’s something you would consider.”

And yet, Kupchak suggested that still might not be enough.

“Something could be said for having the No. 2 pick in terms of building going forward,” Kupchak said. “You know you’re going to get a really good player. You know you’re going to get a player under a contract that you’ll be able to control for at least five years at a reasonable amount before you have to consider an extension. Those are pluses in addition to getting a heck of a talent.”

The possibilities for the Lakers seem endless, as Kupchak envisioned anywhere between four to eight players falling into the No. 2 slot.

They could pursue a big man (Kentucky’s Karl Anthony-Towns, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor), a guard (Ohio’s D’Angelo Russell, China’s Emmanuel Mudiay), a wingman (Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, Duke’s Justise Winslow) or a European prospect (Barcelona guard Mario Hezonja, Sevilla forward Kristaps Porzingis).

Yet, the Lakers did not watch any of those prospects on Tuesday in what marked the first day of workouts leading into the June 25 draft. Instead, the Lakers monitored Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell, Iowa State shooting guard, Bryce Dejean-Jones, Gonzaga point guard Kevin Pangos, Maryland shooting guard Dez Wells, Northern Iowa power forward, Seth Tuttle and Minnesota power forward Maurice Walker.

“Today’s group are players we are not considering for the second pick in the draft,” Kupchak said. “But there are a lot of players we would consider at No. 27 or 34.”

Kupchak plans to see more prospects that fit that range on Thursday, and envisioned he would have workouts for more elite players “hopefully in a week or two.”

“We’ll probably bring in as many as the representatives will allow us to bring in,” Kupchak said. “If the representatives do not believe we are genuine in considering that player at No. 2 they probably wouldn’t send them in. We’d like to bring as many as possible.”


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