Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Candidates to Replace Mitch Kupchak as GM

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIFebruary 8, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Candidates to Replace Mitch Kupchak as GM

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    It was recently reported, Mitch Kupchak may be leaving his position as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    And while the reports are nothing more than talk at this point, I think some Los Angeles Lakers fans hope they are true, this writer included.

    After all, Kupchak traded Lamar Odom away for almost nothing.  Yes, Odom demanded a trade. But come on Mitch, would you have jumped off a bridge if he told you to?

    Also, before the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol in 2008, Kupchak nearly became the GM responsible for running Kobe Bryant out of town after Kobe demanded to be traded in 2007.

    In the following slides, you will find five candidates to replace Kupchak as G.M. of the Lakers.

    I am in no way saying the people in the following slides have been rumored as Kupchak's successor. Mitch could very well end up being in the Lakers’ front office for the next decade—holy smokes, let’s hope not.

5. Kurt Rambis

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    Kurt Rambis has played and served as both the head coach and an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Much like Steve Kerr, Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge, Rambis perfectly fits the bill as the former player looking to make a difference in the front office.

    It would also give fans some peace of mind that the current management isn’t ready to turn their backs on the team’s past altogether.

4. Steve Kerr

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    Current TNT analyst and California native Steve Kerr served as general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2007 until 2010, responsible for Shaquille O'Neal playing in Phoenix for a season and a half.

    A dark-horse candidate like Kerr may not be as crazy of an idea as some think.

    Remember, hiring Mike Brown as head coach surprised many Lakers fans.

    And if the Buss family is still trying to put their own, unique fingerprint on the makeup of the team, trying to further themselves even more from the Phil Jackson era, fans may want to get expect the unexpected whenever Mitch Kupchak’s tenure as GM comes to an end.

3. Jeanie Buss

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    It was written throughout the offseason that the hiring of Mike Brown as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers signaled Lakers owner Jerry Buss and his son Jim (who some think Jerry has essentially “handed over the keys” of the franchise to) were ready to completely move on from the Phil Jackson era.

    After all, it was assumed for years that Brian Shaw, Jackson’s primary assistant, was the logical replacement for the Zen Master.

    Jeanie Buss, daughter and sister of Jerry and Jim, is currently the executive vice president of business operations. If she was named GM of the Lakers, the Buss family would have their bases covered as far as having total control of the Lakers.

    There could be one potential snag in Buss as a potential GM candidate, however.

    She is currently dating Phil Jackson. So if Jim and Jerry felt confident Phil wasn’t influencing any decisions behind the scenes, Jeanie is just as logical a choice as anyone else.

2. Magic Johnson

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    Magic Johnson has been in the news recently for being one of the leading bidding groups to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Sometimes being a great player doesn’t translate well to the sidelines (remember Magic’s short-lived, underwhelming stint as coach of the Lakers in the 1990s?) or the front office (I am looking at you, Kevin McHale).

    But I believe it would be worth the gamble giving the greatest Laker of all time a shot in the front office.

    Also, what if Mike Brown as coach ultimately turns out to be unsuccessful? Jim and Jerry Buss will be looking to regain the fans’ trust again.

    Hiring the Magic Man as GM would have Angelinos in a frenzy.

1. Jerry West

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    Jerry West served as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1982 until 2000, playing a role in building both the “Showtime” and Kobe/Shaq dynasties.

    You are probably wondering why West, who is currently serving as an adviser for the Golden State Warriors, would go back to a job he left a decade ago.

    The simple answer is that Phil Jackson has left town. It was reported during the offseason that Jackson and West did not get along during their time together with the Lakers.

    This could be the reason why West’s departure took place not long after Jackson was hired as coach.

    Now that Jackson is gone, West could possibly be more willing to come back to the franchise he played a large role in shaping as one of the most successful in sports history, as both a player and general manager.