Lakers GM Upset About What He Calls False Trade Rumors
Jun 25, 4:16 AM (ET)
By JOHN NADEL
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - General manager Mitch Kupchak freely admits the Los Angeles Lakers might make significant roster changes this summer - no surprise considering how poorly they fared last season.
But he says nothing being reported recently is true.
"Without getting into great detail, every trade I've heard about has been completely inaccurate," Kupchak said Friday. "Somebody should pay for that. I don't know where they originate. So many people get their feelings hurt."
Kupchak referred to the subjects of those reports.
"I'm on the phone. I would suspect there's going to be change on our roster," he said. "(But) it's unlikely that anything will happen (before Tuesday's NBA draft). I don't anticipate anything will happen at this time."
Kupchak acknowledged he's talked with several teams, saying, "That's what happens when you win 34 games."
But, he added: "I don't come in here every day thinking I've got to get a deal done. If it makes basketball and business sense, that's something we'll try to do."
The Lakers have three picks in the two-round draft - the 10th, 37th and 39th overall selections. They've been rumored to be trading up and down, with several players mentioned in potential deals - mostly on Internet sites.
"There's three or four a day for the last week," said John Black, the Lakers' executive director of public relations. "They're all bogus. The fans read all that stuff and they get all excited. It doesn't happen, and they're all disappointed, they're all let down.
"I think the whole team's been traded, including Kobe (Bryant)."
Black called it "irresponsible journalism."
"It's degenerated every year that I've been here," he said.
Assuming the Lakers don't make a trade before the draft, Kupchak said he doesn't expect their first-round draft choice to make a major contribution, much less be a starter.
"I think it's unlikely any player drafted 10th through 20th will make an immediate impact," he said. "Hopefully, he can play a little bit."
Kupchak also said he didn't believe the Lakers will choose a high school player in the first round, but didn't rule it out.
"You roll the dice a little bit more," he said. "And, of course, you're not going to get productivity for two or three years."
Kupchak said the Lakers brought in around 55 players for pre-draft workouts - around twice as many as usual. He pointed to the fact that they have three picks in this draft instead of the usual two, with the No. 10 selection much higher than their first choice has been in several years.
"Plus, we had more time to do it this year," he said with a thin smile, referring to the fact that the Lakers failed to make the playoffs for just the second time since 1976.
So much for the Bender to LA rumors. Now Walsh, Bird, and Kupchak have termed them untrue.