Lightning Crashes: Interview with GM Kyle Kappe
- By Kyle Kappe, Day 120, 2026
Reporter - We are joined by Houston Lightning General Manager, Kyle Kappe, currently at the JBL All Star game down in Mexico City. The Lightning sit at 32-25 and in 6th place in the West. How has the season gone in your mind, so far?
Kappe - First off, thanks for having me. It’s been a solid season so far. Last year we were at 28-54 on the mark, so we are already 6 wins ahead of last year, so it’s been a successful year as far as that has gone. We aren’t content for better than last year or even a winning record. We are pushing for the playoffs and want home court in the first round. But by a lot of metrics, we have had a great year. It’s just far from over.
Reporter - Yes, there have been some strong performances from players, both current and new. How has Jerome Bradley fit with this Houston lockerroom?
Kappe - Bradley has been fantastic. But we knew coming in that he’d be a good addition coming in, confident players tend to be that way. He’s been roughly the same level as last year, but he also had a lot more chemistry on his team last year than this year. He’s been a good asset for Marcus Price to lean on in his journey forward as a player. We also have a guy who we know wants to take the last shot if at all possible. We had a space we wanted to fill and we feel like we filled that spot perfectly.
Reporter - Speaking of Marcus Price, there was noise about him finishing fairly close to an all star game appearance. Was there any issue of him not making it?
Kappe- Of course we’d like our fans to see multiple Lightning players in the all star game, but it just wasn’t in the cards so to speak. Marcus didn’t seem fazed by it at all and while I'm sure participation in it would have been fun and a great honor, I know he’s spending time working on more aspects of his game. He’s a professional on and off the court and I know this won't bother him. But we can’t overstate how important he’s been to our program, our team. We’ve bounced his spot around from PF to SF to see where he’s most effective, but with Bradley here, he fills in behind Jerome and K-Worth comes in at PF. The system is obviously working. Where Price fits in long term? Probably both spots, having the versatility is something I enjoy having.
Reporter - How did Keiron Worthington handle losing his starting spot?
Kappe- Worth knows nothing is handed to anyone in this league, [at least if you aren’t an aging ex-superstar who can mentor someone else.] Worthington has seen his minutes go down, but his per 36 have increased. I think the last time I checked, he was at 19 and 11 and he is seeing just as many shots. He handles things his own way. I think for the All Star break, he’s down in Australia, helping at an Aborigine clinic with circumcisions. Going forward, he’s a key element to our organizations success in the future.
Reporter - What is situation at Point Guard? You drafted Denzel Graves a year after drafting Austin McConnell at the 4th spot.
Kappe - The situation is the situation. Right now we are committed to Austin McConnell. He is our guy at the point guard spot. Denzel Graves is a fantastic rookie who has a lot of potential for greatness in his own right. We feel secure in knowing that if injuries strike, we are covered for the foreseeable future. Austin’s per 36 are right at 14 PPG and 10 APG, right in line with his numbers last year. With the addition of Bradley, a lot more Iso was introduced and a lot of shots were spoken for, so we aren’t surprised by the hovering of numbers.
Reporter - You surprised some people by taking a shooting guard with your first pick in the draft. What does that mean for Spencer Allen, given his struggles, and is Vince Collier better suited for the Lightning?
Kappe - We thought we were missing a defensive element on the wing. We knew we had Bradley targeted in free agency and felt Collier’s height and length could play both SF and SG. We also have Austin Green, another kid we really like. So we have the 2/3 spots covered pretty good. Collier will continue to play minutes behind Spencer Allen and Collier will get the bulk of the backup minutes at the 2, while Green has been getting minutes over at the 3 when it’s been needing a backup player. But Allen is our guy going forward. He knows the team, he knows the system, and he’s a stand up player for the city of Houston.
Reporter - You have one upcoming free agent in Qwan Songaila, is there an extension on the horizon?
Kappe - We want to evaluate all of our options in regards to our personnel. We feel it would not be prudent to make that offer during the playoff run, to limit distractions. In the offseason, we can also offer him more years, to better secure both our futures in Houston. We want Qwan in a Lightning jersey and we have full expectations that our desire will be fulfilled one way or another. We’ve had offers for Qwan and people offering their own centers to us, but we’ve dismissed desire to trade him or to acquire another center.
Reporter - You have another center, Brandon Weir, who has been clamoring for minutes. Is there any plan on getting him the minutes he desires?
Kappe - We have a pretty strong front court at the moment. Carter Barlow has played well, Qwan has too, obviously. Weir was signed with the future in mind, Qwan is a FA this offseason, Barlow in the next season. We have plans on bringing back everyone for another go around, but nothing is secure. You saw that after Brandon Kellogg was lost for the year.
Reporter - What do the offseason goals entail?
Kappe - We don’t have our first rounder, but we do have a second rounder. We don’t feel like we have any holes to worry about, depth is even pretty strong. If there is a right move, I don’t see us passing it up. But I really don’t know what that move looks like. Perhaps Alonzo Weaver is offered up, we would take a look at it, but we know deals like that don’t come around very much. There is no Trading Emporium where we just go in and check out players available. I won’t be active in seeking any players. The other GM’s know how to reach me if there is a deal they want to propose.
Reporter - So Keiron Worthington is not on the trading block?
Kappe - That’s silly, of course not.
Reporter - Hand on the fire, do you make the postseason? You currently sit in 6th place. You don’t have a difficult schedule, but you end up playing a lot of the teams vying for that 3-8 spot.
Kappe - I think we do, though I do not think we nail down home court. Too many good teams have been tripping over themselves early on and are figuring it out. The deadline has been rather boring, but I think as chemistry continues to improve, you’ll see a little more separation.
Reporter - Thanks for your time Kyle
Kappe - No problem!