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Monday, February 20, 2012
Mitch Kupchack issues statement

By Brian Kamenetzky

After Kobe Bryant delivered his strong comments following Sunday's loss in Phoenix regarding the limboriffic status of Pau Gasol -- either trade him or make it clear he's staying, but pick one already -- I figured they wouldn't change much in terms of how the front office approached a potential trade. Whatever timeline Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have for whatever moves are coming won't be altered. Before Monday's game, Kupchak issued the the following statement:
“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans."

Loosely translated, "We're going to do what we're going to do when we do it, and we're not going to talk about it."

Which is what you'd expect. As Kupchak says, the Lakers gain nothing by committing one way or the other, or, frankly by discussing it. Secrets are very tough to keep in this industry. So going forward, little changes. When the Lakers and Gasol play well, the significance of Sunday's events will be diminished (with some causation/correlation confusion added in, I'm sure) and they'll be praised for properly compartmentalizing. When they/he don't, the trade talk will be called a distraction. Reality, as it generally is, will be somewhere in between.

Everyone wants clarity and resolution, but odds are it won't come before the deadline, if it comes at all. There's no guarantee we'll have an idea of the team's direction before the summer, for that matter.