Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Hasn’t Forgiven David Stern for Chris Paul Trade Veto

by November 11, 2013

While talking to a group of Los Angeles Lakers season ticket holders, GM Mitch Kupchak touched on Kobe Bryant’s recovery from Achilles surgery, and admitted that David Stern’s infamous veto of the 2011 trade for Chris Paul remains a very sore point. Per the LA Times: “Kupchak acknowledged the franchise is preparing for the time after Bryant is gone. ‘He’s not going to be here forever. Just like Elgin [Baylor] wasn’t here forever, Jerry [West] wasn’t here forever — Wilt [Chamberlain], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar and] Magic [Johnson],’ said Kupchak. ‘Everything runs its cycle.’ The difficult task ahead for Kupchak will be rebuilding under the difficult rules of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. ‘The [CBA] really made a concerted effort to level the playing field in terms of taxes, the ability to sign free agents, the [salary] cap, the exceptions,’ Kupchak said. ‘We’re starting to see, slowly, some of the effects of that agreement. This is something that all the smaller-market teams in the NBA wanted.’ Kupchak said he expects smaller-market teams to benefit in the standings. ‘The owners … want, as much as possible, to level the playing field,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure we’ll be able to have three superstars and dominate for eight or 10 years. I just don’t think the new rules will allow that.’ Kupchak also gave credit to Commissioner David Stern, who is retiring in February, for globalizing the NBA game. ‘He’s done so much for this [league with] his vision,’ Kupchak said. ‘… We’ll miss him, with the exception of one moment.’ In 2011, Kupchak had agreed to a trade with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) and Houston Rockets to bring Chris Paul to the Lakers — but Stern stepped in as temporary owner of the Hornets to stop the blockbuster deal. ‘Have you forgiven him for that one moment?’ asked Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, moderating the event. ‘No I haven’t,’ Kupchak answered.”