The acquisition of Dwight Howard may have received more fanfare, but Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak believes the sign-and-trade that brought Steve Nash aboard was the linchpin to the team's ballyhooed offseason, citing the enthusiasm others have for playing with a distributor like Nash, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The Nash deal wouldn't have been possible without last year's Lamar Odom trade, but Kupchak said he wasn't envisioning a summer like the team just had when he let Odom go last year. Kupchak shared plenty more with Medina, as we highlight here.
On whether Dwight Howard has told him he'll re-sign next year:
"I have not asked that question nor do I intend to ask the question. I hear he's embraced the city. Certainly, everything he says publicly is positive. But there really is nothing to pursue there from that point of view. It doesn't make any sense for him to do anything other than wait for this summer."
On what the Lakers must do to convince Howard to come back:
"Winning a championship wouldn't hurt. If we didn't win it this year, would that factor into his decision? I don't know. I would think that if he has a great year and there's great chemistry and the city embraces him like I think we do and will, I'm not sure it would be a factor. But that's something that he'll have to decide. He doesn't have to decide that now."
On 2014, when executive Jim Buss says the team plans to "make a big splash":
"Even if we sign back Dwight, we'll have cap flexibility. But I don't know who's going to be available two years down the road. I don't know what will happen in the next year or two. There may be a trade that comes along. Right now, we do have financial flexibility."
On the team's pursuit of Nash this past summer:
"When we were talking about it in the office, we said, 'Steve is on our list.' but I said, 'It's unlikely.' Jimmy said, 'Well, make the call.' I said, 'we'll make the call anyway, but don't get your hopes up.' He took the optimistic approach to it. Lo and behold, the unlikely took place."