Not Your Average Mitch: L.A. Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak Is the NBA’s Top GM

On May 30, 2007, pro basketball in Los Angeles frantically fell flat on its face, leaving Angelenos wondering, "Will we ever rebound?"

Following a third straight forgettable season -- the latest of which resulted in a repeat first-round exit at the mercy of the Phoenix Suns in the 2007 playoffs -- the Lakers were arguably the second-best NBA team in Southern California.

It was on the aforementioned date that Kobe Bryant began a barrage of banter -- not about bringing home another banner, or another back-and-forth episode with the Big Fella.

Instead, the Black Mamba struck in a way that no Lakers' fan thought he would, a way that pierced the thick-skinned hearts of those very same fans who stood by his side and virtually patted his back, as if to say, "It's going to be OK," during his Colorado rape case.

It was on this date that Kobe Bryant daringly demanded a trade from the Lakers, practically sticking a Samurai sword in Lakerland's back and twisting it 180 degrees in both directions.

"I would like to be traded, yeah, " he told 1050 ESPN Radio in New York. "Tough as it is to come to that conclusion there's no other alternative, you know?"

At the word "traded" Lakerland suffered a severe heart attack. At his concluding question "you know?" the nails were all but drilled into the coffin.

Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak, who began serving as the assistant GM under Jerry West in 1986, was already up to his shoulders in dire distress, first for sending Shaquille O'Neal to South Beach in exchange for the inconsistent Lamar Odom, questionable Caron Butler and ancient Brian Grant.

Then, to add a stale popcorn to a mundane movie, Kupchak unloaded the suddenly up-and-coming Butler for possibly the most hated Laker of all-time -- in hindsight, at least -- the one and only K...

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