Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told the LA Daily News that he's open to the idea of trading the Lakers' first-round pick. And he said the direction of the Lakers' coaching search could be determined by what the Lakers do with the pick.
Yet, Kupchak maintained his stance from last month's exit meetings that the Lakers are open toward trading their current first-round pick should they find a suitable offer.
“It may be a factor,” he said. “You can only trade a pick if you have a trading partner, too. So their willingness and what they would be willing to give up would be dependent on the pick.”
Another variable perhaps more complicating: the Lakers' coaching search.
Kupchak reiterated he will remain patient with that process and acknowledged there “is a correlation” between the order of the Lakers' draft pick and who the team selects as its next head coach. It appears likely the Lakers either will opt for a younger coach if they keep their draft pick or a veteran coach if the Lakers somehow upgrade their roster through a trade.
The Lakers are sixth in the lottery. You'd assume that if they were to land a top-three spot, they would keep the pick unless someone like Kevin Love suddenly became available for the pick. But if they stay at six or fall, they could use it to acquire a veteran who could help. Who that would be is the uncertain part. In truth, the Lakers' plan beyond "do everything" is kind of up in the air. Kupchak admits in the interview that the new CBA has limited the Lakers' plan to rebuild through spending.
Additionally interesting in all of this is that Dante Exum, who would seemingly fit well in LA, tested well at the combine and could land outside of sixth. If the Lakers can't find a veteran to acquire with the sixth pick, would they consider trading up to get Exum or someone else?
The coach question is similarly interesting. Lionel Hollins is a rumored candidate, but he wouldn't do well with a young team. George Karl may be in the same boat. But a younger assistant, like Quin Snyder, whose name has been mentioned? That might be different.
Looming over all of this is Kobe Bryant, and what impact he'll have on the team's direction. It's looking like a weird, eventful summer for the Lakers.