The Lakers have extended their contract with GM Mitch Kupchak, tweets Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, confirming a report from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Kupchak’s contract was set to expire after 2014/15, but it’s a multiyear extension, according to Shelburne, which indicates that it will run through at least 2016/17. The terms and the precise length of the extension are unclear, though Shelburne notes that Kupchak has long been one of the highest-paid executives in the NBA (Twitter link).
The timing of the deal is odd, considering the Lakers have clinched their worst record since moving to Los Angeles, and they come off a summer in which Dwight Howard left the Lakers to sign with the Rockets in a rare case of a superstar spurning the purple-and-gold. That the Lakers made the move now shows the regard the Buss family, which owns the Lakers, has for Kupchak, and it’s essentially a vote of confidence in him, Shelburne writes. Kupchak first joined the Lakers front office in 1986 after spending the last five years of his playing career with the team.
Kupchak, one of the NBA’s longest-tenured GMs, has held his current job since the summer of 2000. That was the same offseason that Joe Dumars took over the Pistons front office, and a report Tuesday indicated that Dumars plans to resign soon. The Lakers have won four championships on Kupchak’s watch. Kupchak works in tandem with co-owner and executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, who has authority over the team’s basketball decisions.