"He's the future of this franchise," Kupchak said.
"Would you consider moving Dwight," the Lakers GM was asked?
"No, I've gotten calls, even today, but there have not been frequent calls and maybe that's the source of some of the rumors out there. We have been consistent. We are not trading Dwight Howard. He will not be traded and there is nothing anyone can do to get a positive response."
He said as much late yesterday as well, after a Lakers practice session. He has said it since Howard arrived in Los Angeles prior to this season.
How many ways does he have to phrase it for doubters to believe him?
While opinions in media are on the side of trading the still-injured center with the touchy disposition, the Buss family has not wavered in its belief that they will be able to sign him for a long term deal, and make him the face of the Lakers after Kobe Bryant hangs up the Nikes.
Kupchak, the Lakers GM of more than a decade is in the final 24 hours before the end of the NBA trade deadline. He told Cowherd that he is fielding calls from other teams, but there is no intention to move Dwight Howard.
"This team is built to win this year or next year," he told Cowherd. He continued: "We gave up a lot of picks and we're not very young, but we have a couple of young players. Dwight is certainly very young. The team is built to win now and a lot of that has to do with Kobe."
He is doing his job while mourning for Dr. Jerry Buss, his friend, mentor and boss of some 32 years. Kupchak and the team are preparing for a pre-game tribute tonight as the Lakers play their first game without Jerry Buss at the helm of the club.
Buss, principal owner of the team died Monday as a result of complications from cancer and his private memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles. Read: Jerry Buss should get the next statue outside Staples Center.
The ceremony will be streamed on Lakers.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT.
If Dwight Howard ever felt unsure about his future based on the wants and desire of the Lakers, even he has to conclude that the job is his if he wants it.
It's now up to the temperamental center to seize his opportunity, to the extent his injuries allow, to demonstrate his willingness to be that face of the franchise. Maybe that's what scares him.