Son of Yhency

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Correction #1 of ∞

It occurred to me the other day that I made quite an error in my Lakers rant last week. So I waited for someone to correct me. Which, of course, never happened. Thank you, oh faithful readers!

In assessing Mitch Kupchak's moves as the Lakers' GM, I said the only two good things he did during his tenure was trade for Kobe and sign Shaq. Although I made it very clear that anyone could have orchestrated those moves. Well, I'm an idiot. Because Kupchak became the Lakers' GM on August 7, 2000, meaning he wasn't responsible for either of those moves. The man that was behind them, which led to three Lakers championships? You guessed it -- Jerry West.

(And now that I know that The Logo was the one that was key to bringing those two guys in, well, they were simply brilliant moves. West saw Kobe's potential and threw what was then a productive Vlade Divac to the Hornets. And after quite a bit of courtship, West convinced Shaq that the Lakers were where he needed to be. Brilliant.)

So... so... this only further demeans Kupchak's achievements, or lack thereof. And it got me to thinking. What exactly has Kupchak done for this team? I mean, it's completely fair to say that the Lakers won their three recent championships because of the moves that West made before leaving. And so I did my research, and here are some highlights of Kupchak's tenure, in chronological order:

8/15/00 - Signs Stanislav Medvedenko. I wish I were making this up, but this was Kupchak's first move as GM, a great way to make a splash in L.A. All you Stephen A. posers, say it with me: Sla-va-med-ve-DENK-o!!!

8/25/00 - Signs Isaiah Rider. A known clubhouse cancer. Which makes him kinda like T.O., although not nearly as good. Here's a snippet of how he fared in L.A. Check out who else is in the article.

9/21/00 - Trades Glen Rice, Travis Knight, first round draft pick for Horace Grant, Greg Foster, Chuck Person, Emanuel Davis. I loved ridding ourselves of Glen Rice... but what was so wrong with Knight?? Little did I know that Mark Madsen, who was drafted just three months earlier (by West), would pick up where Knight left off. But those two guys aside, was picking up Grant, Foster, Person and Davis worth even giving up the draft pick?? Jamaal Tinsley was taken with that pick. I'd take him instead of those four guys combined.

9/29/00 - Waives Chuck Person. Okay, I'd take Tinsley over the remaining three guys.

10/6/00 and 10/16/00 - Respectively, re-signs Brian Shaw and Shaq. The Shaw-Shaq Redemption continues!! I'll give it up to Kupchak for that.

10/25/00 - Waives Emanuel Davis. Tinsley for the final two guys?? (Mitch, the season hasn't even started yet and you've waived two guys from that trade!!)

6/28/01 - Trades Greg Foster for Lindsey Hunter. We're down to Horace Grant for Jamaal Tinsley.

7/18/01 - Loses Horace Grant to free agency. Say it ain't so HoGra!! Jamaal Tinsley sure seems nice now, huh?

9/27/01 and 10/16/01 - Signs Paul Shirley, then waives him. A career in writing is born.

6/30/03 - Declines to exercise option on Robert Horry, making him an unrestricted free agent. This is clearly the beginning of the end of the dynasty.

7/16/03 - Signs Gary Payton and Karl Malone. I was excited as anyone, but was this Kupchak's doing? Nope, you can thank Ambassador Shaquille for these two guys coming to play at a ridiculous discount.

7/28/03 - Signs Horace Grant back after a two year absence. Jamaal Tinsley, eat your heart out!!

8/19/03 - Signs Koko Archibong. Not only a Penn graduate, but his name is Koko. Unfortunately, he was waived two months later. However, some "genius" at Cal Tech actually took the time to put this web site together, which is simply brilliant, even if you never had the chance to appreciate Koko in all of his glory.

7/10/04 - Hires Rudy Tomjanovich. To this day, does anyone know what happened with this whole situation? Very sketchy, all around.

7/14/04 - Trades Shaq for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler. I don't care whose fault this was (Kobe is the widely accepted culprit), but for Kupchak and Buss to allow it to get to that point is completely inexcusable.

7/15/04 - Re-signs Kobe to max contract. Wow, that was hard to do. "Kobe, we're giving you the max. You can go somewhere else, but no one can offer you this much money." End of story.

7/16/04 - Loses Derek Fisher to free agency. Another piece of the puzzle falls away.

7/20/04 - Signs Vlade Divac. His line for the 04-05 season? 15 games, 2.3 points per game, 2.1 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game and one block. (Note that the block isn't per game. That's the total number for the year.)

8/2/04 - Re-signs Stanislav Medvedenko. While other pieces come and go, Slava's the rock that keeps the ship afloat. Or not.

8/6/04 - Trades Gary Payton, Rick Fox, cash for Chris Mihm, Jumaine Jones, Chucky Atkins. I'm more upset about unceremoniously dumping Fox than anything else here. And I guess giving up the cash.

6/14/05 - Hires Phil Jackson. Another tough recruitment effort. "Hey Phil, would you rather coach in a place you know, get $10 million a year and be with your girlfriend... or go to Minneapolis?" End of story.

6/28/05 - Drafts a guy named Von Wafer. I kid you not. (Unfortunately, he looks far too normal to have a name like that. And he's not German. I thought he'd be German.)

8/2/05 - Trades Caron Butler, Chucky Atkins to Wizards for Kwame Brown, Laron Profit. An actual quote from a breathless Stu Lantz during the Lakers' game the other night, after Profit made a nice play: "Laron Profit was not supposed to be the best player in the Wizards trade!!"

There you have it. A bunch of unexceptional moves (and draft picks) that were made, as far as I can tell, for no apparent reason. I mean, just look at these players!! Every one that came because of Kupchak has either been average (at best) or they suck, but were great at one time. What pointless move is next? Only time will tell.

The silver lining is that people are now saying that the Lakers are trying to save some cap space to make some big signings in the next few years. If that's the case, and they make some smart moves, I'm happy. But with Kupchak's track record, I'm not gonna believe it until I see it.