Mitch Kupchak believes Lakers will still attract top free agents

At a time when winning an NBA championship represented a normal season, the Lakers fulfilled their permanent mission statement through a pretty simple approach. With Los Angeles forever captivated with star power, the Lakers acquired plenty of superstars to satisfy that fix.

But the same organization that once showcased Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and Shaquille O’Neal could not entice the NBA’s current marquee stars to join the Lakers’ storied history. The Lakers pursued LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony this offseason only to see James return to Cleveland and Anthony to stay in New York.

“We never felt it was realistic to think we would get one or two,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recalled Friday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “But if you don’t try, you don’t know. We went all out to pursue both of the people you’re talking about.”
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Mike D’Antoni: GM Mitch Kupchak will do all he can to improve the Lakers

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was fielding questions from reporters following practice Thursday in El Segundo. Since the Lakers are just 13-19 and losers of six consecutive games, it wasn’t surprising that possible trades were part of the discussion.

One that has been talked about is post Pau Gasol going to Cleveland for former Lakers post Andrew Bynum. There is no evidence that deal is even close to being done. But the Lakers’ situation does beg the question – does this team need to make a major trade of shake-up proportions to give it a chance to make the playoffs and do well in them.

D’Antoni replied to just such an inquiry.

“I’m not sure, that’s Mitch’s job,” D’Antoni said, referring to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. “He’s going to look at everything possible and try to make us as good as possible. But there’s no magic dust out there. You just can hope and wish and I’m sure he’ll look at everything.”

In spite of all the injuries to Lakers guards – including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry – D’Antoni insists there remains enough talent on the team to be successful.

“… We have enough to win,” he said.


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