Former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has reportedly been offered the Charlotte Hornets’ GM position after not being a part of an NBA front office for over a year, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Kupchak was fired from the Lakers on February 1, 2017 after serving 17 years as the general manager and 36 total years with the organization.
The Charlotte @hornets have formally offered their GM post to Mitch Kupchak and are confident they can soon seal a deal with the longtime former Lakers executive, according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 2, 2018
Kupchak was a casualty of former president of basketball operations Jim Buss’ self-imposed deadline, which stated the Lakers would be back to contending for a title no later than 2017-18. Buss couldn’t keep his promise and a result, Kupchak was also shown the door.
Kupchak left a bad taste in Lakers’ fans mouths after using their cap space in the summer of 2016 to sign Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to long-term, big money deals after striking out in free agency. Those moves thus far have cost the Lakers a former No. 2 pick overall pick in D’Angelo Russell and could cost future picks and/or prospects this summer as the new front office, led by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, try to do some of star searching of their own.
However, that shouldn’t take away from all the good Kupchak did in his time with the organization. His most notable accomplishment in his time with Los Angeles was the Pau Gasol trade, that led to back-to-back championships for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Kupchak also put the Lakers in a position to pull off a blockbuster trade for All-Star point guard Chris Paul in 2011, but the deal fell apart for reasons that can only be described as “basketball reasons.” Still, Kupchak did his best to put talent around Bryant while he was in the prime of his career, trading for All-Stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in 2012.
While that experiment didn’t work out, it showed Kuchpak’s willingness to put a winning team together at all costs. As bad as his last summer with the Lakers was, he deserves more credit than he gets today.
Kupchak is expected to take the offer and the hiring should be announced by the season’s end. For a team stuck in limbo like the Hornets, Kupchak’s experience in an NBA front office could get them started in the right direction.