Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kupchack: "Mind your own business"

Mind your own business, was the message from general manager Mitch Kupchak is response to Kobe Bryant's criticism of the franchise's handling of Pau Gasol's contract (NBA betting tips: LA Lakers 11/2 - NBA Western Conference win only bet365).

Bryant suggested that Lakers management should "come out and either trade [Gasol] or not trade him" before the March 15 trade deadline and that the uncertainty was affecting his team-mate's game.

Gasol has two years and $38.3 million left on his contract after this season and Lakers have never wavered in their stance that they will not trade unless they get back a young star.

The four-time All-Star had 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 14-2 at home by beating Portland Trail Blazers, 103-92, on Monday at Staples Center. He is now 531 points so far this season.

"As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player," Kupchak said in a statement released by the team.

"Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come."

Kupchak has been down this road before – in 2003-04 he was cast at the centre of the Shaquille O'Neal contract dispute.

He insisted the franchise would conduct their business without interference from players, and added: "To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans."

The Lakers are next in regular season Western Conference action at Dallas Mavericks on February 22 (Bet on basketball: LA Lakers 11/1 - NBA Championship outright winner bet365). 

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