The Los Angeles Lakers are one week away from cashing in the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and things are only heating up. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak joined The Chris Mannix Show on NBC Sports Radio and had plenty to say about the No. 2 pick, whether or not small ball has made low-post big men an artifact of the past, and if teams have been "blowing up" his phone to swing a big trade for one of the top picks.
Kupchak has been consistent about the Lakers weighing every option possible heading into draft night, and he once again re-affirmed it in regards to the possibility of trading the No. 2 pick. The Lakers have received calls from teams interested in trading into the top-two of the draft, but it doesn't sound like any talks have been serious yet. Mitch told Mannix a team would have to offer something "very substantial" and that if the right deal comes along they "will entertain" the possibility (via Mannix):
Kupchak: Well, to be in the running for the No. 2 pick, and this is just my take on it, general managers in this league know they have to offer or they will have to offer something very substantial. You can't just call and say, "Hey, listen, we have interest in the No. 2 pick" if they're not willing to be really, really serious. They know that. The No. 2 pick is valuable, so, to answer your question, yeah, we've gotten phone calls, 30 teams, 29 teams haven't called us, and they wouldn't. They know what the price would be, but we have gotten phone calls, and we will entertain the possibility of moving the pick if the right phone call, the right offer comes along.
It would likely take a blockbuster deal for the Lakers to trade out of the value they can draft with the No. 2 pick, where Jahlil Okafor is the most-often projected future-Laker. When asked about the Golden State Warriors and "modern NBA" game phasing out the value of a traditional post-up center like Okafor, Kupchak explored his thoughts on the importance of adjusting to the on-roster talent. He doesn't see it as small-ball vs. traditional, but a matter of team building (via Mannix):
Kupchak: I think it could be. That's not going to diminish the three-ball, which really has taken hold in our league. For a big man or a low-post center to be effective—and we've had a couple here in L.A.-- I'm not really making a joke, but the three-ball was around here with Shaquille and Pau and Andrew Bynum, and we were pretty effective. So the low-post player will be effective, but you really do have to surround him with the right players. Otherwise, if he's really good, he's going to get double-teamed, and there will be no place for him to move.
The whole interview is worth a read, which you can check out over at Sports Illustrated.