Kupchak On Tax, Draft, D’Antoni, Tanking, Nash

Mitch Kupchak told reporters Thursday that the Lakers scouting staff isn’t attending more college games than in years past, in spite of the likelihood the team will end up with a rare top-10 pick. Still, he admitted his focus on the future probably means he’ll be dedicating more of his own time to the draft this year. The Lakers GM also said it’s “not a big concern at all” that the team move below the tax line this year. He had plenty more to say about the draft, the tax, and other subjects, and we already passed along a few snippets of his remarks Thursday night. We’ll provide much more here, courtesy of a pair of pieces from Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News and a single story from Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

On the repeater tax:

“It’s going to be very difficult for us to be a repeater in the next two years just by virtue of all the free agents we have. And then even if you’re in the repeater tax, if you’re in the repeater tax by $30MM, you get killed. If you’re in the repeater tax by a $1.5MM or $2MM, then it’s really inconsequential.”

On this year’s draft:

“I think it’s a really good draft. Like most drafts, it changes going into the season and when you’re in the middle of the season and I expect it to change still a little bit between the beginning of March until the end of March, but I think it’s a good draft and some players that I don’t think anybody expected to be formidable picks in the draft a month ago, you’re starting to see some guys you didn’t hear about play really well. So, I think it’s a good draft in general and I think there’s a couple, three name guys that really jump out at you.”

On Mike D’Antoni:

“I think he’s done a great job. Under very trying circumstances, I think he’s done a great job.”

On the notion of tanking:

“Winning is never a bad thing. I’m not a karma guy, but if you try to manipulate this thing, it doesn’t work out the way you think it works out. You’re better off doing the right thing to do and whatever happens, happens for the right reason.”

On the acquisition of Steve Nash in 2012:

“No regrets. We had a chance. You have to recognize where you are as a franchise. We felt we had a two year window, maybe three to go for a championship. That’s what we did. Looking back on it, which nobody can do, that’s a different story. But at the time, we knew exactly what we were doing.”

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