The Lakers officially entered crisis mode Monday, when general manager Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com that the recent poor play by the two-time defending champions may drive him to make a trade to shake up an underachieving roster.
"Regarding a trade, I may have to," Kupchak said at the team's practice facility a day after the convincing loss to the Celtics. "I'm not saying that I've made calls today or I'll make them tomorrow. But I just don't think that we're playing as well as our talent level should allow us."
Even speaking in his usual measured tones, Kupchak's disappointment and frustration were obvious. More importantly, while saying he had not talked to owner Jerry Buss since being controlled by the Celtics in the fourth quarter at Staples Center, Kupchak said, "I'd be surprised if he feels any different."
And it gets better
"I try to be as objective as possible, but I'm concerned that our performance is not living up to our talent level," Kupchak said. "Our record is certainly OK. But we've lost a bunch of home games. We've lost a couple of big games at home. And to me, those are red flags.
"I'm not convinced it's lack of talent. I think it's there. Our team is very similar — certainly our starting five is exact — as the team last year. Yes, we're a year older. But it's not like our guys are 34, 35 or 36. They're all between 29 and 31 or 32. I think we've added a couple players that may make our roster even stronger, with Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. … You don't age off the charts in one year when you're 30 or 31."
So, the Lakers may consider trades.
"I wasn't," Kupchak said. "But it looks as if we may have to. … It's something I may do in the future. I just don't think that our talent level is playing as well as they can play. We have an incredibly high payroll and we do that because we have players that normally produce at a high level. And I'm not sure I see that now."
This will be fun to watch.
(H/T Celtics Blog)