While there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the Lakers’ future, it all could be for naught if ownership can’t get their stuff together. A timeline resides firmly above the front office’s head, and the hope is that it won’t force a move that risks the aforementioned promising future for immediate gains.
Now, before we get to Mitch Kupchak’s comments about this timeline, it’s worth noting that asking a general manager about his owner’s dealings isn’t necessarily fair, as whatever is going on is pretty much completely beyond his control. Jim and Jeanie Buss are his bosses, and as such, it’s not like he can walk into the office and tell them to get it together, as fitting as that message might be.
Anyway, while the Lakers kicked off their training camp, Kupchak took questions from the beat reporters in Santa Barbara, and the dreaded timeline came up. This, from Mark Medina and Bill Oram, of the L.A. Daily News and O.C. Register, respectively.
.@billoram asked Mitch about timeline Jim and Jeanie Buss have discussed. Mitch: "I'm not in a position to debate some of the stuff."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 27, 2016
Wants development, progress, but “I don’t know how that translates into anything else under my control.” https://t.co/LcZS2MZZWd— Bill Oram (@billoram) September 27, 2016
The first quote, from Medina, is exactly what I was talking about. As frustrating as it might be for Kupchak to have something hanging over his head like this, there really isn’t much he can do beyond ensure the team is given everything it might need to be successful now, and long-term.
The second part is interesting in that it shows the pitfalls of building a roster through the draft as the Lakers have. If the any of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, etc., don’t development as the franchise needs them to, it opens everyone involved in this rebuild to losing their jobs. Just ask Sam Hinkie how that played out.
The Lakers carried ample momentum into training camp, but as Mitch says, it all could be for naught all too easily.