Let’s not even debate this one. Even a lifelong Laker fan such as myself that routinely degraded Mitch Kupchak once he replaced Jerry West has no problem eating his own venomous words.
Kupchak is the best general manager in the NBA. No doubt about it.
Should the Dwight Howard deal net another title or three for L.A. this conversation will be even more one-sided. Building yet another dynasty on the fly would put Kupchak into the rare air of front office talent. He’d stand alone in the hoops world and would be on par if not above anyone in any other sport.
How Kupchak acquired Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown is one of the great miracles of our time. How he got Howard out of Orlando without parting ways with Gasol is almost equally amazing.
Again, for all my cynicism during the last two years of lackluster Laker hoops (by Laker standards mine you) I’m happy to have been proven wrong. Of course Kupchak could have saved himself the bad ink had he not tried to sell us on the Howard-less Lakers being contenders. That was more laughable than Hasheem Thabeet going second overall.
What is no laughing matter is Kupchak’s shrewd acumen when it comes to orchestrating blockbuster trades. If you include the Chris Paul debacle we’re talking three major moves in a year of which any one would be a crowning achievement for most general managers.
You can miss me with what the Miami Heat accomplished. It’s not like it took a lot of arm twisting to convince LeBron James and Chris Bosh to head to South Beach. OKC has done a great job of drafting and developing talent but there’s still no banner hanging as a testament to their front office. About the only other franchise that can contend with Kupchak and the Lakers is San Antonio.
Otherwise the battle for best GM in the NBA is a first round knockout with Kupchak’s arm raised as the winner. Again, we can debate this but should another dynasty arise then we’ll be talking about Kupchak in the G.O.A.T. category for general managers which puts to rest any argument.