Kupchak: No purpose in showing Lakers' hand

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak says he understands how the days leading up to the NBA trading deadline can wear on players, but thinks it would serve no purpose to say publicly whether or not the team will deal Pau Gasol.

Kupchak issued a statement Monday night, one day after Lakers star Kobe Bryant complained in a profane rant that the team had to make up its mind whether or not it was going to trade Gasol.

Bryant spoke to reporters after Los Angeles' 102-90 loss to Phoenix on Sunday, saying the Lakers should either deal Gasol or else say they wouldn't.

"As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as general manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come," Kupchak said in his statement.

"To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans."

It's at least the second time in the past three months that Gasol's name has been part of trade talks. In December, NBA commissioner David Stern nixed a three-team trade that would have landed Chris Paul with the Lakers and sent Gasol to the Houston Rockets.