Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Q&A: No. 7 Draft Pick, Kobe, Coaching Search

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Kupchak: “Well, I think right now our interviews will be formal in terms of sitting down and talking for a couple hours but at some point we’ll probably have to sit down a second time. I think that’s where we are right now, at the beginning of the process. And, whether it’s a veteran coach or a rookie coach that’s not something we’re prepared to comment on right now.”

Question: Going back to the draft, was there anything you were able to zero on in for guys that are going to be in this range. When are you going to start having players come in?

Kupchak: “Well, the combine has evolved over the years and the most useful information at the combine is really the interview process and the testing and medical/physical process. There’s very limited basketball activity. The guys that did work out really aren’t lottery players at least this week. Based on workouts going forward maybe somebody could jump in there but right now they were just not that quality of player and it’s not to say the other guys that worked out at the combine wont be in the NBA or be drafted in the first round, but as you know, most of the lottery guys quote unquote did not play.”

Question: With the guys now, do you plan on zeroing in with this pick or keeping it broad still?

Kupchak: “We started last night calling trying to set up workouts, with probably everybody in the top 15 to 20. Some of those guys don’t think they are gonna be there at seven so they won’t come in, nothing we can do about that. But, some guys that are drafted later you may say why bring a guy who might go 20. Well you never know, number one, and number two, you have the opportunity to develop a relationship with a player, so you know why not do it? So, that started last night.”

Question: On the coaching front, I know you don’t want to talk specific names, but could your situation be impacted by somebody like Derek Fisher or another assistant who is still in the playoffs? Are the playoffs going to come into play here timing wise?

Kupchak: Right now, its not a factor. Like I said, I don’t see the process ending in the next 2-3 weeks. And, it depends how the process goes. We may want to open it up and consider other people. It’s kind of a roundabout way to answer the question but right now that’s all I can answer.

Question: Do other teams openings and hires impact your search?

Kupchak: “No.”

Question: How does knowing that you have the number seven pick compared to a top three pick influence the likelihood you will trade the pick?

Kupchak: “Well it speaks to reason, the higher the pick the more value it has, but you know a 6th pick or 7th pick, which is where we ended up certainly has value. And, we’ll evaluate that between now and the draft and July 1st.”

Question: Is your pick important when you look and building a team from scratch with a handful of guys? Is there extra value in getting young talent that you can control with a rookie contract?

Kupchak: “Well, that’s one of the benefits of having draft picks. There’s a salary scale going forward, you know if it’s a first round pick, you can basically pencil in four years of salary and then if in the fifth year he signs a one-year deal, you can pretty much know that number two. So really you have salary certainty for five years with a first round pick. Second round is a little bit different. So yeah, it’s a factor, but it’s not really that much of a factor with us because we’ve only got one pick this year and we know what that picks going to be, but we still have to fill the roster with seven to eight more players.”

Question: Having gone through this coaching search a couple times is there something you will do differently this time around? (Click next page for the answer)

Next Page: Kupchak On How Kobe Bryant’s Productivity Is Priority In Coaching Search

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