Mitch Kupchak held a press conference to discuss the trade deadline and the rest of the season with media on Friday as the Los Angeles Lakers season gets back on track. Perhaps the most interesting thing Kupchak said was regarding the Lakers future. Many have debated all season long over whether the Lakers should be trying to win now, or build towards the future with little regard to current success.
Kupchak gave a window into the front office's mindset on this important issue, stating the team isn't interested in adding veteran talent to make a final run with Kobe Bryant:
Kupchak said LAL can't jeopardize the next 5-7 years just to win during the final year of Kobe's contract by bringing in veterans.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 20, 2015
This is a bold statement from the front office as they pass over a silent trade deadline and important free agency period. Kobe Bryant has been an important player to the Lakers over the past 19 years, but statements like this from Kupchak make it clear that the franchise will look to create sustainable success in the long term rather than mortgaging the future in an attempt to please one player.
With Houston's first round pick acquired in the Jeremy Lin trade, their own second rounder, a possible Clippers second rounder, salary space to use if the right player is available and most importantly their own top five pick, the Lakers could be looking at a couple good building blocks for a potential rebuild. Add these to Jordan Clarkson, Ryan Kelly, and Julius Randle; and the Lakers are building toward a young team to learn from Kobe in his last year, at the very least
Whatever kind of team the Lakers do piece together for Kobe's final season, it doesn't sound like it will come at the cost of weighing down a rebuild for the future.