Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Says Plan is to Keep Pau Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a rough start, which is putting it mildly: they’re overrun with injuries, continue to deal with a stunning and controversial coaching change, and they can’t seem to defend anyone. The Lakers currently boast an almost unthinkable 9-12 record. According to GM Mitch Kupchak, he’s not yet ready to fully evaluate the squad. Kupchak also does his best to put to rest the Pau Gasol trade rumors. From the LA Daily News: “The Lakers (9-12) enter tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-17) in 11th place in the Western Conference. Long-term injuries to Steve Nash (fractured left leg) and Steve Blake (lower abdominal strain) and a coaching change from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni prompted Kupchak to say ‘it’s impossible’ to evaluate this team. Nor do these variables provide clarity on what will happen after Dec. 15, the first time teams can deal players they signed during the offseason. ‘If you’re happy with your team, then the date doesn’t mean much although you will probably get calls anyway,’ Kupchak said Monday in a phone interview with this newspaper. ‘If you’re not happy with your team, you’ll make calls.’ […] Kupchak sounded definitive at least on two topics. That involved his evaluation on Mike D’Antoni, who has a 4-7 record with the Lakers. ‘He’s not happy with the record he’s had since he’s been here,’ Kupchak said. ‘But there’s been clearly an uptick in the tempo of the game and that’s something we were looking for. We’re very comfortable with the coach we have. We’re happy to have him.’ Kupchak also answered whether the Lakers will keep Pau Gasol for the rest of the season. ‘That has always been the plan,’ Kupchak said. ‘Nothing has happened to change the plan.'”