NBA Draft … Coming Soon

When Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak checked in with us on June 8, he explained that the front office will approach Thurday’s 2012 NBA Draft the same way as they would if they had more than just the 60th pick.

In other words, Kupchak and his staff prepare to make every single pick of the 60, in case of a trade or the purchasing of a draft pick that could have the Lakers moving up in the second round or into the first round.

Why do they have only the Draft’s final pick, at least for the time being?

- L.A.’s 2012 first round pick was traded to Cleveland along with Luke Walton and Jason Kapono in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga at the trade deadline in March. The Cavs will select at pick No. 24.
- L.A. had acquired an additional first round pick from Dallas in exchange for Lamar Odom, a trade exception and the Lakers 2012 second round pick, but at the deadline moved that first round pick to Houston along with Derek Fisher in exchange for Jordan Hill. The pick from Dallas is top 20 protected for six years. Since Cuban’s crew selects 17th this season, the pick will remain with the Mavericks, and eventually go to Houston once the pick is not in the top 20 (or six years pass). That L.A. second rounder Dallas acquired gives them the 55th overall pick in 2012.
- L.A.’s No. 60 pick comes from the Sasha Vujacic trade to the Brooklyn (then New Jersey) Nets on Dec. 15, 2010, a pick the Nets had acquired from Chicago.

To prepare for the draft and the subsequent flurry of front office activity once free agency hits on July 1, Kupchak has been getting to know contract issues for all players outside of the country, learning about all of the players in the draft and becoming increasingly familiar with the free agent class. In short, he and his staff will canvas the rest of the league to figure out which other teams might value certain players on L.A.’s roster, and vice versa, to see if a trade can be worked out.

That said, Kupchak told us that he’d be surprised if a “major” deal occurs, due in some part to the limitations of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it always depends upon what is available and for what price.