Published Jul 9, 2004

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has gotten a lot of heat in the press lately for doing nothing. But, sometimes, nothing is the best thing to do. Like, specifically, when your Most Dominant Ever center wants to leave, your superstar guard is about to leave, your future Hall-of-Fame lock power forward may retire, and you’ve not yet signed a contract with a new coach.

Waiting can lead to many good things:

  • Shaq is changeable; time may lead him to relent on his trade demand
  • Kobe may leave at any moment; if he runs to the Clippers, Shaq may relent on his trade demand
  • Rudy T is somebody who will be respected by both Shaq and Kobe, and may be able to mend fences after he is signed
  • If Shaq can’t be kept, better he stay out-of-shape and disgruntled, and better his trade be delayed until the last moment so that he has the minimum possible amount of time to get used to his new teammates and system

Taking action now, while Jerry West-like, has some negative ramifications:

  • Trade Shaq, but then maybe Kobe leaves?
  • Trade Kobe, but then maybe Shaq leaves?
  • Players are unloaded, then The Mailman retires?

It might have been great for Kupchak to do something decisive, if he’d really been in charge. But Buss specified keeping Kobe, so the GM was not in charge. You only got what you got to work with. Given the universe of options, I like what they’re doing, and predict a good outcome.