Mitch Kupchak learned a lot from his mentor Jerry West. With the trade of Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Lakers, you can say that Kupchak also learned the art of fleecing other teams from Jerry West.
For us who weren’t around when West dominated the NBA in the 60’s, the only memory we have of him was his cunning guile and craftiness as the general manager of the Lakers during the late 90’s. After all, he was the one who signed Shaquille O’Neal away from Orlando and duped the then-Charlotte Hornets to trade their 1996 first round draft pick – a tall, skinny high school kid from Philadelphia – for Vlade Divac.
Jerry West made the Lakers a championship contender with those moves. And now – after a history of questionable moves – the apprentice finally made the trade that would make his teacher proud.