Mitch Kupchak On Antawn Jamison Signing

Below is a transcription of Mitck Kupchak’s comments following the team’s press conference for the signing of Antawn Jamison:

Q: On Jamison potentially getting easier, open looks in L.A. while playing with so many players who demand attention as contrasted with his previous several seasons:
Kupchak: I think he’s going to get better looks. I think teams will certainly prepare for him, but they’re going to prepare for Steve Nash, Kobe (Bryant), Andrew (Bynum) and Pau (Gasol). Maybe some teams will take him for granted a little bit.

Q: On if he and ownership are looking to add further to the bench:
Kupchak: You can always get better. We still feel we have another roster spot or two to look at it. Maybe a back court player.

Q: On his stance of not looking to use the mini mid-level exception:
Kupchak: We look to add value. We have a mini mid-level still available but I think it’s unlikely we’d use it unless there’s an incredible value out there.

Q: On Jamison coming despite having offers for more money elsewhere:
Kupchak: He makes us a better team. We’re happy to have him on board. I didn’t think it was likely that he would agree to come here for the (veteran’s) minimum. As unlikely as it was for us to get a call from Steve Nash, it was just as unlikely (to get one from Jamison). We didn’t recruit him as much as you might think because I didn’t really think it was a possibility, but after several conversations with his representative, I started to say to myself, ‘I think this guy will do it,’ and at that point it happened quickly.

Q: On L.A. being a desirable destination:
Kupchak: L.A. has always been a good destination. We have a lot of advantages that other teams don’t have, fortunately. It’s a big city, a desirable place to play and live. I think we’ve always had that advantage and I think we always will. And stable ownership is certainly a big plus.

Q: On the pursuit of a championship:
Kupchak: I thought (Jamison) got his point across clearly that he had other opportunities, but he’s accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish in his life in terms of basketball (except) winning a championship. He was in Italy about eight days ago when I called him and tried to talk him into coming here, and the thing he talked about was the one thing that was missing. And that’s unusual. That’s rare.

Q: On if the Lakers ever need to put the brakes on in terms of looking around the league at free agents/trades:
Kupchak: Typically it slows down in August, but the brakes are never on.

Q: On if he’s spoken to Andrew Bynum’s agent:
Kupchak: I spoke to his representative today. I wouldn’t share with you what we spoke about, but we communicate regularly. (I’d characterize the conversation as) productive and positive.
*Editor’s note: Kupchak said that nothing is imminent in terms of an extension for Bynum. When asked if there would be something done before the start of the season, Kupchak answered: “Hopefully it will progress.”

Q: On his assessment of L.A.’s second round picks (Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre) from the Las Vegas Summer League:
Kupchak: They are unsigned. I haven’t really had conversations with their representatives. As we get closer to training camp, I will. The bottom line is they are players that were drafted in the 50′s, and they’re always considered long shots to make a team. But we like them both … we’ll see.