Much has been made both during and after Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak’s departures about the various final straws that might have pushed Jeanie Buss over the line. One such issue was how hard the Los Angeles Lakers pursued then Sacramento King DeMarcus Cousins.
In a podcast with Zach Lowe, Ramona Shelburne (both of ESPN) provided detail as to why trade discussions didn’t get very far, as well as who might’ve preferred a certain direction for the Lakers at that time.
Given what the Kings wound up taking for Cousins after all was said and done, the haul they expected from the Lakers seems pretty daunting. Kupchak and Buss were probably right to pass on this, and the raised asking price probably cost the Kings a better prospect than the one they got (Buddy Hield).
Here’s how the exchange went between Lowe and Shelburne, who is as plugged into the Lakers as anyone.
Shelburne: (The trade) was supposed to be Ingram and D’Angelo. That was what the Kings wanted.
Lowe: Do you think when push comes to shove, the Lakers do that?
Shelburne: No. Actually, I think Jim would’ve. At that moment, I heard he was very in favor of doing the trade for Cousins. (Cousins) is a great player and the Lakers feel like they need a great player and every organization at some level has to have that confidence to say well it didn’t work over there but we can make it work here.
My first question here would be: If Jim was so intent on making this trade and Kupchak was willing to remain loyal to the long-term rebuild even while knowing such a strategy could cost him his job, why fire him along with Jim?
To take that question a step further, after firing him, why not show gratitude for either (or both) the service spanning decades or for the aforementioned loyalty the what was better for the organization?
There’s still plenty about that situation that will have to come forth and it most assuredly will over the next few months, if not years. For now, we should remain pretty glad the Lakers passed on the Kings’ ransom.