Tuesday brought sweeping changes to the Lakers organization. Jim Buss out, Magic Johnson in. John Black, who was with the team for two decades, also removed from his position. And lastly, Mitch Kupchak was relieved of his duties as general manager, with Rob Pelinka being a few T’s crossed and I’s dotted away from being his replacement.
This morning, Kupchak released a statement regarding his termination.
Statement from ex-Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who was fired from his post Tuesday: pic.twitter.com/N2hdJyIsVp
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 22, 2017
After decades with the team, this kind of classy response was to be expected from Kupchak. Through his tenure with the team, Kupchak dedicated his life to Lakers basketball. Even on his way out, Kupchak saved the team from mortgaging their future to get a deal done for DeMarcus Cousins, potentially saving his job. Kupchak was responsible for good as well as bad in his time with the Lakers, but he always did what he thought was best for the franchise, case and point in the non-deal with Sacramento.
Mitch Kupchak played a large part in bringing titles to past Lakers teams, as well as securing young talent for this current team, throughout the roster all the way to the head coach. He’s responsible for bringing Pau Gasol to LA, drafting D’Angelo Russell when all signs pointed to Jahlil Okafor being the next Lakers big man, and finding a diamond in the rough with Larry Nance Jr,.
The end of the Mitch Kupchak/Jim Buss front office era was nothing else than turbulent, but we can at least thank them for the time and effort they devoted to this franchise. Despite the odd “timeline” and botched free agent meetings, the pairing did a lot for the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles. Best of luck to both Mitch and Jim, who will without a doubt always be Lakers.