Final thoughts on the Lakers' 2009 Draft: All hail cash considerations!
All in all, you'd have to call it a success. Big time. In a bad draft, the Lakers turned the 29th, 42nd, and 59th picks into $4.5 million, two second rounders in 2011, and a big they had on their board in the mid-30s in Chinemelu Elonu of Texas A&M. (That he likely won't make the team isn't the point.) That's a solid haul. Put it this way: That cash, with just a little more on top, could mean a multi-year deal for Shannon Brown. Or most of a season from Trevor Ariza, and so on. You get the point. All for guys that wouldn't play a role next year.
A few quotes from Mitch Kupchak...
On the trade of Patrick Beverley to Miami for $1.5 million and a pick in 2011: "Basically, it's keeping in line with our philosophy with the draft today. We ranked the players in the draft and we ended up getting the guy that we thought would be the 34th best player in the draft, we ended up getting him at 59. Guys drafted in the 30s still have a hard time making the team, but we're pleased with what we did from a business point of view, trying to manage our roster, and we got a player that we thought was undervalued in the draft at 59. So we're pleased with what we've done, and now we've got to move on to our next challenge."
On whether or not, perhaps in a better draft, if the Lakers thought about taking players as a hedge against losing any free agents: "Not the free agents we have. We have three free agents, Lamar (Odom), Trevor (Ariza), and Shannon (Brown), and I don't think any of the guys that we could have got at 29, 42, or 59 today can beat them out. Not even close. So to draft a player, whether it's guaranteed money or a pick at 42 that has great value, unless it's a guy that you can stash overseas- and we had a couple of those guys, but they were gone by the time we picked- we thought we did the best thing to manage the value of the assets going forward. We were able to get two forms of compensation, something that can help us this summer, and then (picks) that with either one of these teams that may be okay."
Regarding the sale of LA's first round pick to the Knicks, which also comes with a second rounder in 2011, Kupchak said the money doesn't guarantee LA will be able to re-sign their FAs, but that the money obviously doesn't hurt. (Previously posted here): "We think we did the right thing, based on our take of the draft... This year's draft we felt was not a strong draft down in the 29 range... We felt rather than take a player and commit to a player for two years when based on last year's roster that he wouldn't make the team, we thought the best thing to do was to get the best deal, and the best deal ended up being the combination of (the money and the pick)...
...I don't know what the market's going to be... I don't know what the free agent market's going to hold for us. Even though you want a player, if a competing team comes out and makes an offer that we don't think is a good basketball business decision, than it doesn't matter how much money you have, we won't match that or try to match that offer. We've done that in the past. The fact that you sell a pick... doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to translate into a particular player on July 1st. It certainly won't hurt, but the players that we end up signing we feel they have to fall into a category that makes sense."