Mitch Kupchak's Moves
Since the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, Mitch Kupchak has overseen a rebuilding process that brought the franchise back to the top of the Western Conference this season. Some of his moves:
TWO TRADES NOT MADE: Refused to bow to pressure to trade Andrew Bynum and later Kobe Bryant last summer. Bynum developed into a double-double machine before a season-ending knee injury, while Bryant went on to win his first MVP award.
JACKSON IN AT COACH: Brought back Phil Jackson from a one-year sabbatical in 2005 and signed him to a two-year, $23 million contract extension through 2010 last December.
SHIPPING KWAME: Made up for the blunder of trading budding all-star Caron Butler for Kwame Brown in 2005 by shipping Brown, along with Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol and two draft picks, to Memphis in exchange for Pau Gasol in February.
BRINGING IN VETERANS: Acquired Lamar Odom from Miami in the Shaquille O'Neal trade in July 2004. Signed guard Derek Fisher before this season after Fisher left Utah. In the summer of 2006, signed Vladimir Radmanovic as a free agent.
BUILDING A BENCH: Assembled a young and athletic bench with low draft picks -- Luke Walton (32nd in 2003), Sasha Vujacic (27th in 2004), Ronny Turiaf (37th in 2005), and Jordan Farmar (26th in 2006).