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Mitch Kupchak Says LA Lakers Wanted to Win Now for Ailing Jerry Buss

May 31, 2011; El Segundo, CA, USA; Mike Brown (left) poses with Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss (center) and general manager Mitch Kupchak (right) at press conference to introduce Brown as the Los Angeles Lakers coach at the Lakers practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers attacked the 2012 offseason with a determination to add as much win-now talent as humanly possible.

While many assumed the team was looking to build a championship contender for the final few seasons of Kobe Bryant's career, general manager Mitch Kupchak said that there was a more immediate influence driving their decisions—the failing health of legendary owner Dr. Jerry Buss.

Appearing on John Feinstein's CBS Radio show on Tuesday, Kupchak said that the moves were made to maximize their ability to win another title in a "two- or maybe even a three-year window," (via Royce Young of CBSSports.com).

Adding veterans like Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison over the 2012 offseason is just among the examples of the Lakers' attempts to guarantee success for the 2012-13 season.

When the season got off to a rocky 1-4 start, the team fired coach Mike Brown. According to Kupchak, the acquisitions and firing were all driven by this urgency.

Clearly, we knew Dr. Buss was not in great health, Kupchak said. And we were hoping for the next year or two we could put something on the court that would result in being in the hunt at the end of the year for a championship. And when we didn't feel we could go there after a preseason and a small number of games, we didn't feel we had the patience to wait and see if it was going to work out.

Tragically, Dr. Buss passed away from kidney failure on Feb. 18 after a lengthy battle with cancer. His six children assumed his majority control of the franchise, with sons Jim and John and daughter Jeanie filling the most prominent positions.

During his nearly 34 seasons spent as owner, Buss guided the Lakers to 16 NBA Finals and 10 championships. He was a true basketball visionary, helping the Lakers transcend the sports world in becoming a global icon.

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