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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: ‘We never felt it was realistic’ to land Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James in free agency

Mitch Kupchak

Mitch Kupchak


There’s a vocal minority of Lakers fans that are so passionate about the team that at times they come off as delusional.

Listen to L.A. sports talk radio and you’ll hear it, where wildly lopsided trades are suggested that would benefit the Lakers, but no one else.

Many of those in the group believed that once the Lakers had the cap space to sign a superstar free agent to the type of deal they would require, All-Stars would be lining up outside the Staples Center, clamoring to play alongside Kobe Bryant and try to usher in a new era of greatness to the once-storied franchise.

It hasn’t happened that way just yet, however, with free agents like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James choosing other, more palatable options this summer.

Thankfully, the team’s general manager doesn’t share in those fantasies, and takes a much more realistic approach.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Things would have looked so different had the Lakers landed Anthony or, a real longshot, James. But they didn’t.

“Our expectations with either player just based on what we perceived the environment to be . . . we never felt it was realistic that we could get one or [both],” Kupchak said. “But if you don’t try you don’t know.

“We’ll get somebody. At some point we will.”

LeBron, of course, would only have considered leaving Miami to return home to Cleveland, and wouldn’t have even done that had the Heat managed to win a third straight NBA title. And Anthony, while he reportedly thought long and hard about making the jump to Los Angeles, ultimately chose more money to remain in New York, with the promise of optimism under a new regime headed up by Phil Jackson.

Kupchak was well aware of the likelihood of how these scenarios would play out. But with a max contract spot available and the Lakers in desperate need of an influx of star-level talent, he had to give it a shot.