- Mitch Kupchak was a GM with the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The late Kobe Bryant had issues with Kupchak's various trades and decisions.
Mitch Kupchak had a long-term relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers before becoming the president of basketball operations for the Charlotte Hornets. As some NBA fans might have heard by now, the 69-year-old Kupchak is a former NBA player and recently came under the limelight after announcing his sudden retirement from the Charlotte Hornets.
After his career as a player came to an end, Kupchak was the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers for more than 3 decades and only joined the Hornets back in 2017. Less than 7 years after getting his new job, Kupchak has decided to resign from his post and has raised a lot of questions from the NBA media inadvertently.
ESPN Sources: Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations Mitch Kupchak is stepping down to become an organizational advisor, clearing way for franchise to begin an immediate search for a new head of basketball operations. pic.twitter.com/Vh2p0AudFh
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 12, 2024
While the reasoning behind his recent decision to leave the Hornets remains unknown, some veteran fans might remember the thought process that led to him leaving the Los Angeles Lakers. Since the younger NBA fans might be unaware of the events that resulted in him leaving the Lakers, a closer look at the situation is required.
Kobe Bryant wanted the Los Angeles Lakers to get rid of Mitch Kupchak
Being the general manager of any basketball organization, let alone the Los Angeles Lakers, comes with a fair share of scrutiny and criticism. After all, the GM is the man who has the final say on which players to draft, trade, or sign onto the roster. Kupchak was with the Lakers during the era of the Kobe-Shaq Lakers.
In the aftermath of Shaq’s departure from the Lakers to play for the Miami Heat, Kupchak earned a lot of criticism from the NBA media and players alike for some of the decisions he made in the following years. After all, Kupchak traded Shaq to the Heat in return for Lamar Odom, who certainly did not live up to expectations. He was also unwilling to trade away Andrew Bynum in order to bring on Jason Kidd to the Lakers.
Kupchak redeemed himself by making a trade for Pau Gasol
Although Mitch Kupchak made a lot of questionable trades for which he was criticized, his decision to send Kwame Brown and other assets to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for Pao Gasol was greatly acknowledged by Kobe Bryant and the Laker nation. After all, this decision led to the Lakers winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.