A few weeks ago, I made a case for Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to be named General Manager of the Year. After what he has done this week, I feel he may be head-to-head with Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge for the award.
Don’t get me wrong. Ainge created a powerhouse overnight. However, he practically gave up the entire Celtics team except Paul Pierce, to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Mitch Kupchak made a contender without giving up any power.
A few weeks ago, I argued why Kupchak was amazing. He did not trade Kobe, and he did not trade Andrew Bynum. Bynum was on his way to an All-Star game selection until he injured his ankle. I did not take into account what a hole he would leave when he got hurt. Suddenly, the Lakers were not as good.
I was afraid that Kupchak would continue his ‘no-big move’ strategy. He would need to make a big move because Ronny Turiaf would not cut it as a starting center. Kupchak signed DJ Mbenga, a sweet-named sub-par player, who was released by Dallas and Golden State already this year. Bynum is going to be out till March; the Lakers could not afford to wait. A month without a solid option in the paint would definitely set the Lakers back.
However, Kupchak pulled a move this week that no one saw coming. He failed to pick up Garnett and Jermaine O’Neil in the off-season, and a deal for Jason Kidd did not seem like it was ever going to happen. Instead, Kupchak pulled out Pau Gasol
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