As we all try to stop the Laker world from spinning given the events that have unfolded in the last 72 hours we’re finally starting to get a little better idea as to why Lamar Odom was so abruptly traded. Kevin Ding of the OC Register got a chance to pick the brain of general manager Mitch Kupchak on the matter.
As you might expect Kupchak didn’t like the way things ended last season. As a result he’s been given the freedom to actively seek out opportunities to improve the roster. Apparently part of the home improvement process involves addition by subtraction.
According to Kupchak it was Odom who requested to be traded after hearing the news of nearly being traded. So distraught was Lamar that he asked to be shipped out of Los Angeles, unable to put his near move to New Orleans in the rearview.
However Kupchak doesn’t place the entire onus on LO’s demand. Ding quotes Kupchak as saying Lamar’s presence would have “sucked energy” from the team and the franchise was unwilling to wait a couple weeks to see if Odom’s outlook might change.
In other words, the time was now or never to give Lamar a one-way ticket out of town. Kupchak also admitted that finding a trade partner willing to take on a $9-million salary is difficult at best.
Make whatever you will of that notion. It doesn’t bode too well as far as dispelling notions of the Odom trade being a salary dump.
Speaking of dump, Kupchak’s deal – as of now – has taken a dump on the Lake Show’s title chances. As it stands now the team is significantly thinner in the frontcourt in addition to losing serious depth off the bench. GM Mitch claims the team is still exploring more moves. The real question is to what extent will they go to pursue more top notch talent?
Clearly the Lakers’ window is closing by the day. This team is at the crossroads as evident by the haste at which they moved to get anything in return for Odom even if it meant strengthening a superior opponent.
Hopefully we’re just seeing an overhaul and not a full rebuild. After being swept in convincing fashion the Lakers needed to make moves, that much is undeniable. However, by going about drastic moves in such haphazard fashion Kupchak and the rest of the front office have ruffled some feathers in the locker room. Kobe Bryant was among those expressing disappointment in the Odom deal, though Kupchak claims he never heard that from Bryant directly.
Whatever ultimately happens it is very clear that Kupchak’s disappointment from how last season ended has led him to seek deals at any cost. Almost no player on the roster is safe (KB24 being the “almost” in that statement). Kupchak ultimately sums up his displeasure and approach to washing away last year’s failure with the quote below.
“It’s not like we were breaking up a championship team.”