Mitch Kupchak, general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, has agreed to a multi-year contract extension, which was revealed during a 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night. Kupchak had one year remaining on his previous contract with the Lakers, and the details of his amended contract haven’t been released.
Since taking over for Jerry West in 2000, Kupchak has helped to guide the Lakers to win four NBA titles. Yet, the franchise, worth roughly $1 billion, has seen its worst year since relocating to Los Angeles in 1960, and the Tuesday night loss marks the 53rd of the 2013-2014 season, matching the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers for most losses in franchise history.
The Lakers have been struggling partly because of Kobe Bryant being out for most of the season due to an Achilles tendon tear and a knee injury, though Kupchak had decided to give the star shooting guard a a two-year, $48.5 million contact extension regardless. Kupchak will also consider how to proceed regarding Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni. There has been speculation that D’Antoni won’t be returning next season, though Kupchak has said no decision has been made.
There have also been rumors that University of Kentucky coach John Calipari might be taking over as head coach of the Lakers, after Rex Chapman tweeted about a potential move.
— Rex Chapman (@rexchapman) April 7, 2014
Both Kupchak and Calipari have vehemently denied the rumor, and members of Kentucky’s Big Blue Nation weren’t very pleased with Chapman’s comment. D’Antoni’s record is 65-85 during his two seasons with the Lakers, and was swept out of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs last season.
As a college player, Kupchak was an All-American on the North Carolina Tar Heels, and went on to play for the U.S. gold medal-winning team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Kupchak played in the NBA for the Washington Bullets and the Lakers beginning 1976, before retiring in 1986, and began a sort of “apprenticeship” program under Jerry West in 1987.
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