As first reported by Ramona Shelbourne of ESPNLA.com, the Los Angeles Lakers and general manager Mitch Kupchak agreed to a multiyear extension. Kupchak served under longtime general manager Jerry West before taking the reins in 2000.
Since taking over as general manager, Kupchak has been the architect of four championships and six trips to the NBA Finals. Famously, Lakers longtime owner Jerry Buss took Earvin “Magic” Johnson on a picnic and asked him which player he though would help the team win.
Johnson said he Kupchak would make the difference, and Buss and the Lakers brought in the former Washington Bullet. Kupchak, who had already won a championship with the Bullets in 1978, suffered a serious knee injury that kept him sidelined for the Lakers’ 1982 championship run. However, Kupchak played a vital role in the 1985 title run.
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A year later, Kupchak retired and immediately became assistant general manager in 1986, under West. For 14 years, Kupchak dutifully served as an assistant in the front office before taking the lead role in 2000.
Kupchak had one year remaining on his current contract, but the Lakers clearly felt strong enough about the former North Carolina Tar Heel to bring him back for multiples years. Financial details customarily are not released for Lakers management.
Widely respected as one of the best in the business, Kupchak’s experience and confidence flowed into the Lakers’ locker room on the night he received his multiyear extension.
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After losing to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar, who won two titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, was asked about seeing the team go from winning titles to putting together the worst season in the history of the team since it moved to Los Angeles.
"This franchise will be OK. Mitch Kupchak is one of the best in the business, and the Buss family is in charge and committed to winning," Farmar laughed off the thought that the Lakers would stay down. "[Kupchak and the Buss family are] going to do whatever they have to do to keep this franchise and the Lakers fans where they want to be."