Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/24/12
EL SEGUNDO, CA -- Los Angeles Lakers' General Manager Mitch Kupchak met with the media following two days of exit interviews and provided answers to a couple of pertinent questions about the Purple and Gold. One, Kobe Bryant asking to do his exit interview away from the team's offices didn't mean the superstar was in showdown mode, ready to make demands of management. "Nothing to it at all," said Kupchak. "I would do the same for any of our players who asked to meet somewhere else, not just Kobe. Sometimes it's just easier for them to do it when they come in to clean out their lockers after the season. Sometimes it's better to do it elsewhere. "On the way back from Oklahoma City, I talked with Kobe and he said we'd get together soon. That's no problem." Secondly, Kupchak said he has absolutely no desire to leave the Lakers for any other organization, despite the fact another team might offer more money and a more impressive title such as Team President or President of Basketball Operations. "Yes, I will be here next (season)," said Kupchak when asked about the rumors that other teams have asked the Lakers for permission to speak with him, including the Denver Nuggets. "If I did leave, Dr. (Jerry) Buss would get phone calls from about 50 present or former general managers wanting this job. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best position (of its kind) in sports." So, Kupchak will be here in 2012-2013 and so will Bryant. After that, it's a wait-and-see scenario for the rest of the roster. Center Andrew Bynum clarified his comments of Monday night, saying he definitely wants to be a Laker next season and for many years to come. "Obviously my statements are a bit long-winded at times," said the first time All Star. "People will read three or four words and take it from there. The whole statement should be (read) instead of taking things out of context. "I don't expect to hear my name out there in trade rumors, but my job is playing basketball and I love it, (but) it could take place anyway. It doesn't matter (what is rumored) because I want to be a Laker. I think of every day that I'm in L.A. As a good one, and I don't want to go anywhere. And hopefully if I keep developing my (game) I won't have to. I'm definitely (open to discussions) about a new contract if they came to me. But you never know what is going to happen." He also addressed the perception that he is disinterested at times when he appears to be sulking during a game. "I wouldn't say that, or that I'm aloof at all," said Bynum, who reported that he'll go to Germany this summer to have the same type of knee procedure Bryant had last year. "I definitely want to play basketball or I wouldn't do it. I thought in the regular season I played pretty well, and I stayed healthy, which was a big thing for me. Again, I love playing the game and playing for the Lakers." Pau Gasol also wants to remain a Laker for the rest of his career, but said Kupchak couldn't give him any guarantee that he'd be sticking around even next season. "They can't give me (clarification of my status) right now," said Gasol, who was traded then taken back in the rescinded Chris Paul trade last winter. "Management still has to talk to ownership to see what direction the team will be going next year." He admitted that it was tough for him to deal with the non-trade and the constant rumors that he'd eventually be traded. "It was hard for me sometimes," said Gasol, who will lead Spain in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. "I tried to do my best, but there was a lot (to adjust to). I had a different role (dropping to third option on offense), and I tried to deliver as much as I could." Something Coach Mike Brown was very appreciative of, saying "Pau, I thought, had a good year under the circumstances. It was tough for all the guys with the lockout, lack of practice time and not getting much of a chance to practice. Pau, though, went through (the non-trade) and his different role in our offense, and he handled it like a real professional does." Brown summed up his first year in Los Angeles as "obviously different from anywhere I've ever (coached) before. "We had things happen in San Antonio when I was there that never even made the papers, but if it happened here it would have been huge news. That's just the way it is in Los Angeles, and I accepted that pretty quickly. The controversies with Metta (World Peace) and Andrew were a bigger deal than they really were because that's the way it is here. And I'm OK with it." And that's a good thing, because it looks like Brown will be around for at least the second season of his four-year contract, despite proclamations by reporters and commentators that he could get fired if the Lakers didn't reach the Finals. "I haven't sat down with ownership yet," Kupchak said, "but I think (Mike) did a fine job this season. He and his staff worked very hard to try and get another shot at (a title). "We'll pursue trade possibilities and do whatever else we can to make this team better, even though (the new collective bargaining agreement) makes it a little tougher. And Mike and his staff will have an entire off-season and a full training camp to get the team ready for hopefully another World Championship.
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