With the current Lakers’ front office in the midst of turmoil with their once ironclad free agency plan changing while facing their second tampering fine of the season, it appears their predecessor could be in line for a new job.
Former Laker general manager Mitch Kupchak could be in line for a new position after having been relegated to the sideline for the better part of the last year. Kupchak, who was axed just days before last season’s trade deadline along with Jim Buss, has been away from the league since but appears to be considered a front-runner for future upcoming openings.
The Hornets continue to field calls on Kemba Walker, but no Walker deal gets done unless a team absorbs one of the handful of bad contracts on Charlotte’s roster, sources said. Another variable at play: The future of GM Rich Cho. Cho is in the final year of his contract and there have been rumblings that former Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is a favorite among high-ranking team officials to take over next summer. If Hornets owner Michael Jordan is resolved to replace Cho, he may not sign off on dealing Charlotte’s most appealing asset.
Kupchak has spoken in the past about a desire to return to the league in some capacity during the off-season in an appearance on the Adrian Wojnarowski podcast.
After retiring as a player from the league in 1986, Kupchak joined the Lakers’ front office as an assistant general manager and remained a mainstay in the front office up until 2017, spending over 35 years with the Lakers as a player and front office executive.
Kupchak played vital roles in building the Lakers’ three-peat teams in the early 2000s and an even bigger role with the back-to-back title teams in 2009 and 2010. However, a string of losing seasons paired with questionable free agent decisions led to his firing in February of 2017.
With a year to look at the league from the outside in, a renewed perspective could do Kupchak well and he will certainly be viewed around the league as one of the top general managers available should a position open.