Dwight Howard, left, walks with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak reiterated that the Lakers were not looking to trade Howard before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
In honor of Lakers owner the late Dr. Jerry Buss, the team will wear a patch on the front of their jerseys for the remainder of the season (photo). The initials "JB" will be emblazoned on the front right side of the jersey, above the Lakers logo.
Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, coach Mike D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant and general manager Mitch Kupchak addressed the media on Tuesday. Of the five Lakers, Kupchak spent the most time with the media and did not dodge any questions.
Dr. Buss "brought me here in 1981 as a player," Kupchak said. "Here it is, 32 years later. It’s a weird feeling."
He also shared his thoughts on the future of the Lakers franchise:
"Nobody understands what this franchise means to Los Angeles more than Jeanie and Jimmy and the [Buss] family. Nobody does."
What does Kupchak particularly remember about Dr. Buss?
"He was a loyal man," the General Manager staed. "He always came at a problem from a different angle—a very unique angle."
On whether the Lakers will be making any big trades before Thursday’s trade deadline, Kupchak said that's "unlikely."
"I just don’t see how that’s realistic," he said.
"There’s not a way to upgrade the talent on this team, so I don’t think that’s realistic. We’ll continue to be on the phones and make calls, take calls and listen. But I don’t anticipate anything dramatic taking place in the next two days."
And now with Dr. Buss gone, who is the boss?
"I report to Jimmy Buss," Kupchak said without hesitation.
Kupchak was reflective throughout his time with the media, and he even brought the media to laughter on a few occasions when discussing Jim Buss' wardrobe and hinting that he had some funny stories that would not be appropriate to share.
Ultimately, Kupchak reiterated that Howard was not on the trading block, and he provided some insight into the future of the Lakers. He did not look worried, but he did acknowledge there would be an adjustment period.
"Just knowing that [Dr. Buss] was there was a good feeling to me," Kupchak said. "And he’s gone now. So, there will be some changes and there will be an adjustment period, but I don’t anticipate a problem."