We sat down with Mitch Kupchak – in the middle of his ongoing draft meetings with assembled scouts at L.A.’s practice facility – to touch base on the June 25 draft, the Lakers’ free agency situation and the luxury tax.
While summing up L.A.’s roster situation, Kupchak explained why this year’s draft is unique:
“It’s a little dicey because we have three free agents (Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown), and I don’t anticipate carrying more than 13 players next year. So if we’re lucky enough to resign (those players), we’d have 13 assuming we exercise options for D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell. Right now we’re assuming (Mbenga and Powell) are on our team next year. It would be something unusual where we wouldn’t exercise their options, we think they’re both valued players. If that’s the case, we’re at 13, and I don’t anticipate we’d go above 13.
Essentially, unless one of those free agents isn’t resigned, it’s not likely L.A. will look to fill out its 2009-10 roster through the draft.
“The best solution may be to look for a player that would stay in Europe or in Asia, or maybe exchange picks when you may have more roster space,” said Kupchak.
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