Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak downplays Jim Buss’ self-imposed timeline

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first_imgThe clock appears to be ticking louder and quicker in Jim Buss’ mind. The Lakers’ executive vice president of player personnel had said last year he would step down from his position if the Lakers failed to become a Western Conference contender within three years. Lakers President Jeanie Buss, who is Jim’s sister, has since reiterated she would hold him to that standard. Yet, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he views things differently.“If he felt that way and I agreed, we would’ve traded our picks for veteran players,” Kupchak said on Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “But we didn’t.” “I don’t think anybody in the league has any more money than we do that’s available this summer, although everyone will have money,” Kupchak said. “The third thing we can do it is via trade. I think we do have pieces where we can be in the discussion this season with other teams. We didn’t have as many pieces a year ago as we did this year.” • VIDEO: Kupchak on D’Angelo RussellInstead, the Lakers selected guard D’Angelo Russell (No. 2), power forward Larry Nance Jr. (No. 27) and small forward Anthony Brown (No. 34). Power forward Julius Randle will return after playing only one game before suffering a season-ending right leg injury his rookie season. So will Jordan Clarkson, who went from the 46th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft to a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie First team.Hence, Kupchak tempered expectations even when accounting for a healthy Kobe Bryant. “We don’t have the luxury to have a 10-year rebuilding program done through the draft,” Kupchak said. “But that is why we have maintained a lot of flexibility we have with our cap going forward.”Then, salaries for Bryant ($25 million) and Roy Hibbert ($15.5 million) will come off the books. Then, the Lakers will have plenty of purchasing power to pursue Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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