Lakers Won’t Trade No. 2 Pick, Says Mitch Kupchak
The Los Angeles Lakers have ruled out the possibility of trading the No. 2 overall draft pick, according to general manger Mitch Kupchak.Advertisement
Ever since the Lakers secured the No. 2 pick in the Draft Lottery, several reports stated that the team was looking to trade the pick to secure an established superstar. In fact, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding reported that the Lakers “will actively explore trading the (No. 2) pick” with hopes that the team can return to playoff contention after three forgettable seasons.
Kupchak, however, dismissed those reports during an appearance on AM 570 LA sports with Bill Reiter and LeAnn Tweeden. “Getting the pick, to me, is a bonus and it’s a wonderful asset to have. At number two, you should get a good player,” Kupchak told the radio show on Thursday.
This year’s draft class is being dubbed as a “two-man show” with most pundits opining that there is a significant dearth in talent following consensus top two picks Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. Luckily for the Lakers, they’d have the opportunity to draft one of the aforementioned forwards.
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Lakers young core is impressive…
Kupchak said the team was determined to add another young player to the blossoming core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. “If we use the pick this year, which is our intention at this time, that we’ll get another great player,” said Kupchak.
Despite his unwillingness to trade the pick, Kupchak said that nothing was set in stone. “But between now and the draft I expect to talk to most GM’s in the league, whether I reach out to them just to touch base or whether they reach out to me and inquire about players that are on our roster now or even the pick, there will be a lot of conversations.”
According to Kupchak, the Lakers wanted to invest in the youth since it would help them keep their payroll in check entering the next few offseasons. “Just off the top of my head, I don’t think there’s a lot of players we would trade for with that pick. Certainly there’s a handful, maybe two handfuls, but I don’t think there’s a lot.”
Salary cap flexibility…
Kupchak continued: “One of the beauties of getting the pick and getting a young player that can be really, really good is for the first two or three years they’re locked into a salary structure that’s advantageous to the team. Once they become free agents and the salary jumps up to $20-25 million a year, now yes you’re keeping a good player but you’re also using a lot of your cap room to keep that player and that may affect your ability to put together a team that year.”
Should the Lakers take the shortcut to success by drafting the pick for DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler or Paul George? Or should they bide their time and develop the young core? Kupchak & Co. have a lot on their plate.