Former GM Mitch Kupchak disappointed he won’t get to help players ‘win in the Laker tradition’
Jim Buss has been relieved of his duties as the executive vice president of basketball operations. (Feb. 21, 2017)
Former Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak regrets most that he won’t be able to see this through.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Kupchak thanked all those he worked with and expressed faith that the team he assembled will go on to win “in the Laker tradition.”
“I would like to thank the Buss family for 36 incredible years,” the statement read. “In particular I would like to acknowledge Dr. Buss who brought me here as a player in 1981. I also want to thank every Laker player, coach and staff member with whom I have worked and who supported me through the good times and the very few not so good times. I am most disappointed that I won’t have the opportunity to continue to work with Luke and watch this young and talented team grow and eventually win in the Laker tradition.
“Finally, my best wishes to Earvin Johnson and the Laker organization going forward.”
Kupchak was fired Tuesday after 17 years as the Lakers’ general manager. He had been part of the Lakers’ front office since 1986.
He took over the top position in the middle of the Lakers’ three-peat championship run led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers won championships in his first two seasons. He was the architect of two championship teams in 2009 and 2010.
In recent years, the Lakers have struggled to compete. They haven’t won more than 27 games since the 2012-13 season and have missed the playoffs for the past four years. That is the longest playoff drought in the franchise’s history.
After a franchise-low 17 wins last season, the team brought in former Lakers player Luke Walton as head coach to guide a team that includes three lottery picks and might add another in this year’s draft.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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