Bynum Is Here To Stay! (For at least four years.)

Kurt —  October 30, 2008


Waiting until just 24 hours before the window closed, it appears the Lakers have reached a contract extension deal with Andrew Bynum. The deal is expected to be a three-year extension for $42 million, which works out to $14 million a year. The Lakers would reportedly have a have a fourth-year option at $16 million. So, in the end, we are talking 4 years at $58 million.

Bynum, who is 21, looked good in the couple of Lakers wins so far this season — he is averaging 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots per game, is pulling down 24% of the available rebounds is shooting 53%. He outplayed Clipper center Chris Kaman on Wednesday night. More importantly, he and Pau Gasol seem to be developing a real chemistry, one that will keep the Lakers as contenders (along with that Kobe guy) for the next several years.

This is a pretty fair deal for everyone — Bynum gets a big raise, not quite max but close. The Lakers get a little cushion in case he never fully recovers or reinjures his knees, as the deal can end after three years. Although, my bet, is that in four years the negotiations are far simpler, because he’ll get a max deal.

If Bynum is the future anchor of the franchise when Kobe and Gasol are gone, they need to keep him happy. And that means pay him more than maybe they needed to if they let the market decide is fate this spring (then again, maybe not, he could have drawn a high bid from some team hoping the Lakers wouldn’t match).

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that rules NBA contract negotiations, the Lakers and Bynum have until tomorrow. Traditionally teams future (or existing) young stars are signed to an extension by the Oct. 31 deadline, it’s a sign of respect from the organization. Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all signed extensions by that time. Wade and James also signed shorter three-year deals, making them unrestricted free agents earlier. Don’t get a deal signed and, well, ask Bulls fans how things are going with Ben Gordon.

Kurt

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60 responses to Bynum Is Here To Stay! (For at least four years.)

  1. Fantastic news for everyone. Drew gets paid, we get a bit of a discount. Kupchek gets another feather in his cap.

    The Laker front office deserves a great big pat on the back for this one.

  2. Makes sense to sign him now – if they waited they would probably have to pay max – but now they get a little discount and Bynum gets some security in case of injury.

  3. dumb question, so does the new salary take effect for this season? or does it start next year?

  4. 3-It’ll kick in next year. This year he finishes his rookie scale contract.

  5. Great news!!! At least now he can go out and put all his focus toward the game, instead of giving some of his time to his agent. All in all, worked out great for both sides. Lakers should be able to see what he’ll become in next 3 years and if he reaches his full potential, then he’ll get the max deal then that he was looking for now. Awesome news!

  6. job well done mitch! cant wait to see bynum truly dominate a game this season..for the sake of the lakers and my fantasy squad

  7. This is a real win/win for both Andrew and the franchise. This also gives the Front Office hard numbers to contemplate when building the team for the future. Now the team can start to talk about what reasonable deals would look like for our other players with contract needs like Ariza, Farmar, and Odom and how those potential deals fit with everyone we have under contract.

  8. thanks kwame, yeah this is good news if not for any other reason that to try to minimize any possible distractions from the task at hand this year, and this is none less than … winning the championship baby!

    If LO can keep his play consistent or improve from these first 2 games that should minimize any possible trade distractions about the trading deadline as well, let’s hope it goes that way.

    so far this has been an amazing first couple of games, it’s like we have 2 starting units and our bench has been not only building on the lead, but working to wear down the opponents starters, cause they have to come back in, thus making it even better when our starters come back.
    it’s fun when after a good run against the opponents, we get the pleasent surprise of seeing Kobe and others getting ready to check back in…imigine how demoralizing this has to be for the other guys…ha!

    at some point soon, I suspect and fear, we’re going to get bit by the overconfidence bug, probably by a winless team, like the Cat’s or someone like that, so beware… PJ, keep the focus!

  9. Thank you Front Office for this team you’ve given us. We still have another 80 regular season games to enjoy. Quite the blessing.

  10. Everything’s going well so far this season. Smart play by both parties on this.

    While I haven’t generally been enthused about Bynum trying to shoot jump shots, I did like how they seemed to run a play for him to do just that at the beginning of the game last night. If he’s determined to do it, get the team on board with it. If he does hit that little face up jumper, that just makes the team that much more dynamic (and that’s a shot the triangle likes to have big men take, right?). As it is, he hit that shot and I think it helped him remain engaged in all facets. So long as he doesn’t give up on his interior responsibilities and convince himself that he’s Mehmet Okur, it can be a positive.

    Also, while these 2 wins have been against teams that didn’t make the postseason last year and are hit with injuries (To Baron Davis as well as Camby), I was excited to see the intensity we continued to have even while up big. There were a few lapses, but on a lot of possessions in the 4th quarter, while up 30 points, the team was still hustling on their defensive rotations and not relaxing at all. It reminded me of Boston last year. That is the biggest positive I take from this. The manic sloppiness that infected the first quarter was largely due to the high energy level. So long as that turns to execution, while the energy level remains, I like this team’s chances.

  11. Great news.

    The Lakers made the right decision by signing Bynum to a less than max extension.

    And it’s good to see that Bynum is level-headed enough to realize that he still has a lot to prove.

    I wonder if Andrew was more willing to accept a less than max deal than his agent was? It sounded like his agent was willing to play the season as a restricted free agent and Andrew just wanted to get something done.

    Bynum doesn’t strike me as a guy that is concerned with making more than so-and-so or making sure he receives market value.

  12. I was worried that Bynum was trying to prove too much in the Portland game, thinking that big numbers would force the Lakers to give him the max. That may have been why he was forcing a few shots here and there. I’m just happy now that those semi-conscious thoughts won’t come up and now we can all play team ball.

    Geez, we look good this year.

  13. By the look of things, tickets for the upper bowl next year might be $70… and it will be worth every single penny.

  14. How bout the play so far out of our ‘platoon’ spots at PG and SF. The combos of FIsh/Vlad and Jordan/Ariza work so well with Kobe, and some combination of Pau, Drew or LO. I’ve been especially encouraged to see Jordan and Fish make the point to pass up the open three and drive the lane to get an easier look.

  15. Happy we locked him in….we should look towards how the finances are gonna round out next year tho….if Kobe doesnt accept less, will the team resign all the guys?…Ariza, Odom, Turiaf ehem Powell, Mihm? I hope we can work it out so they all come back … what do u guys think?

  16. I place Ariza, Farmar, and of course Odom on top of the priority list.

  17. I totally agree with J.D.’s post. The most frustrating thing the Lakers did last year was repeatedly fail to put an opponent away when they had them by the throat.

    L.A. nearly blew a 30-point at home lead against the Hornets when the west’s top seed (and some claimed the MVP award) were in the balance, and then there was the Boston collapse. I could list others, but why?

    No. 2 on my 2007-08 squad’s Top Frustrations list was failing to put away lesser opponents, thereby allowing bad teams to hang around — and sometimes even beat — the Lakers. Recall last March’s crap fest, albeit without Pau, when they lost to the Warriors, needed OT to beat Golden State the following night, and then dropped home games to the Bobcats and Grizzlies before barely topping the Wiz.

    Both of those bad tendencies could be traced to lack of focus and poor committment to defense.

    So far in this young season, it looks like essentially the same cast of characters has a totally different focus, and they’re still getting after it even with big leads and against bad opponents. That’s a great sign that they understand it takes hard work to win, not just talent.

    It also shows that they collectively feel that every game matters, which is a nice change from the Shaq-era approach of, “Let’s wait until mid-March to get focused). Yes, they won that way. But only three rings on a squad that could have won five or six — and Kobe understood that better than anyone, which is one reason he didn’t get along with Shaq.

    Bottom line – keep it up, Lakers.

  18. Good to read they’ve sorted this out and with quite the reasonable deal too. Bynum deserves this level of money but its also a fair deal if he doesn’t fulfill his potential or his knees are some kind of problem neither of which seem too likely.

    The team is playing out of their minds so far too, I thought that the Clippers game wouldve been fairly close, told myself not to expect a blowout like Portland so what do the lakers do? blow out the clippers by nearly double the amount! haha.

    I’m trying not to read too far into the team’s play until we get to the Rockets/Mavs/Hornets/Pistons run of games on november 9-14th that’s going to be a real challenge and where we really see what this teams capable of. The nuggets and the clippers should be easy enough games but that four game stretch is where we’ll get our first glimpse of the team against other good/elite games (in quick succession too).

  19. I include Odom in the priorities only if our three-headed frontcourt continues to thrive.

  20. One thing we haven’t seen, for obvious reasons, is the lineup Phil intends to use in crunch-time situations. I believe this may be the source of any possible resentment/disatisfaction amongst the team. Sure, plenty of players have gotten plenty of burn b/c of the score, but against better teams, several of the players will assuredly get major bench time.

    As for Bynum’s knee, the extension probably signals that the Lakers FO has confidence in his recovery so I’m not gonna worry too much about Bynum’s durability.

    A couple of months ago, I posted that there was no reason why Kobe shouldn’t average close to 10 assists per game. After the first few games, do you think this is still possible?

  21. Lakers have about 75M committed next year with Mihm, Odom, Ariza coming off the books.

    If Ariza has actually developed a shot (and wasn’t just messing with us the first two games) I see the Lakers offering him something around 5 per year for a few years. That’s 80 without a backup center. I don’t see Odom coming back next year without moving Vlad/Walton or both (this year, for an expiring).

  22. 15) “if Kobe doesnt accept less, will the team resign all the guys?…Ariza, Odom, Turiaf ehem Powell, Mihm”

    They will have to prioritize. Personally, I think that Lamar’s contributions can be replaced by others already on the roster. If he is not re-signed, then I think they will make a big effort to re-sign Mihm (assuming he stays healthy). Farmar and Ariza would be at the top of my list.

  23. People, end the fantasy now that Kobe is going to accept less. He is more likely to opt out and sign a new, larger max deal than take some healthy pay cut. The problem is years, he probably wants five more and his contract is three, but in three he may not get max money. So maybe the Lakers work out something with him, but don’t expect a pay cut. What evidence does anyone have that is happening?

  24. DY

    It would be hard to imagine anyone averaging close to 10 assists if the triangle is being run properly. Everybody is supposed to be responsible for making plays at some point and the ball changes hands (and sides of the court) way too often. LeBron plays in a system which is set up specifically for him to get all the assists and he still tops out at 7 or 8.

  25. Wake up and smell the coffee people….Kobe is not taking a pay cut. Reasons why he should opt out next summer…
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=10254

  26. Good deal for the Lakers and for Bynum.

    As for Kobe, opting out this summer or next (Kobe has a 2-year ETO and a 1-year player option) would actually cost Kobe money in the short term. Because of how the CBA is structured, the maximum the Lakers would be allowed to offer is less than what he would make on his current deal. He still probably will opt out because it’s in his best interests to try to lock in a final long-term deal ASAP. But the money isn’t that much different. Eric Pincus at HoopsWorld did a breakdown to show that Kobe would only earn a total of about $1 million more over the next 6 years by choosing to opt out after this season vs. choosing to play out his current contract.

  27. If the Lakers win a championship this year, then I think Buss will blow the budget to see if they can’t get a couple more.The other thing that may happen is 2nd tier guys taking less money to get more rings.Or…older stars from other teams taking less money for the chance of a ring. Didn’t that happen once before? Only good things in the future.

  28. Magiclover(great name)-Thats a good point. I feel the future of the roster hinges on the success (or failure) of this season. This is why I’m glad they locked up Drew, and I hope the team can ignore all of us talking about future roster moves and focus on the task at hand…Denver, then the Clips….

  29. There’s this song by a group called Little Brother called “Dreams” and the chorus says ” Mama, I’ve got dreams, but dreams don’t keep the lights on”.

    This is how I feel about Kobe opting out and taking less money. I’ve got Dreams that it could happen, but I’m not counting on those Dreams to really be fulfilled in any tangible way that ends up benefitting me (or in this case the team). Would it be nice if Kobe pulled a KG or what Shaq recently did and took a 5 yr extention for $100 mil? Of course. It would save the Lakers about 3-4 mil a year over the next 2 years and countless mor mil over the life of the contract. That money could be used to re-sign Odom or whoever else we’re looking at and help our payrol flexibility for roster improvements. But Kurt’s right on this, I don’t think it’s going to happen…and if anything he opts out to get more.

  30. If we’re going to lose players like Odom after this season, I want to just enjoy this year and worry about the contract stuff after. Bynum’s been signed so at least there’s one less question mark.

  31. I think #24 would take the cut just cause its what we would expect of the ultimate team player….it would add to his lore….. it would serve to further distinguish himself from Shaq and provide additional basis for arguing that he was the better person of the tandem…. i think he does it a la KG in Minni. Much of Kobe’s actions have been calculated in an effort to repair his image and become more accepted worldwide and a selfless act like that would only add to his return to grace.

  32. The Dude Abides October 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    David Thorpe over at ESPN does not believe that Greg Oden will ever be a productive enough player to really help Portland. He thinks the Blazers need to start considering a franchise plan without Oden in the picture. Bummer, but no surprise. Bill Simmons noticed this before the 2007 draft…he wrote after seeing Oden and Durant at the ESPYs that Durant moves like an elite athlete. You notice it instantly. Oden, on the other hand, walked like a creaky old man. Anyway, here’s the link to Thorpe’s discussion over at TrueHoop.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-35-117/David-Thorpe–Trouble-Signs-for-Greg-Oden.html

  33. This is our season, and our window in many ways. I don’t think we’ll have a team close to this level of talent any time soon, as we’re built on things that others can only dream of – existing superstar, a heist using expiring contracts and most importantly, growth within the system.

    We’ve already seen that internal growth is difficult to maintain, simply because there are 29 teams that will pay ‘market value’ for anyone that’s proven themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if Odom, Farmar and Ariza gets snatched just as Ronny was. And we already have a fairly big payroll as it is.

    As for Kobe, he’ll do what he has to do to make max money. He isn’t that desperate for a ring, and he’s more than confident that, in the end, it probably takes just him and Bynum to win titles. It’s not like the Lakers are straddled with bad contracts that prevent them from maneuvering; on the contrary, although big, we’ve got movable pieces and haven’t truly overpaid – and if we keep going with these blowouts, even Vlad and Walton will seem worthy of their contracts.

    Which is also why this season is going to be very interesting. We have, on the whole, a second unit that is practically playing for contracts and has an opportunity to showcase their skills and focus in a way they won’t get normally. They’re playing on a team that gets national exposure and is legitimately contending for the championship. They probably wish to earn as much trust during the season as possible so that they can have minutes come playoffs, where minutes will be harder to get as we’ll go to proven starters more.

    So we have a motivated starting bunch led by Kobe, and a lot of youngsters that are just budding that are all playing for contracts. We may lose half of them through free agency as we probably won’t get to keep them all, so enjoy this season. Teams this deep really don’t last too long.

  34. I probably would’ve waited until the summer to make sure he survives an 82 game schedule plus the playoffs.

  35. Omar,
    You worry too much about Kobe’s image. We get most of our information from ESPN and sportswriters – both groups have had an abiding interest in tearing down Kobe over the past few years. However, most of the world’s citizens don’t pay that much attention to ESPN rambles and don’t read our sportswriter’s comments. They just love Kobe and his image doesn’t really need any polishing – re his experience in China this last summer.

    If Kobe takes less money it will be because of his value structure and goals. If he settles for $10m less over the next 6yrs, but becomes an iconic figure along with Jordan, then he will more than make up for the salary in other business opportunities. Think of Kobe’s future in business terms, not just in salary terms.

  36. hmm.. i am not the least bit worried abt his image … but i think he is concerned abt it…and he has said it openly that as he gets older he becomes more concerned abt how he is viewed by fans.

    the only thing i a concerned with is the lakers ability to resign all its key pieces

    not sure but it sounds like your post is agreeing with mine in any event…one of the goals that would drive him to take less money would be his personal goal of being perceived as the best.. whether that be on the court or wrt to character. in any event i still think he does it…

  37. I found it amusing that on yahoo’s news page for it – Bynum’s agent David Lee links to the player David Lee. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuCrS1UdK3FrH_T.olSsQVG8vLYF?slug=ap-lakers-bynum&prov=ap&type=lgns

  38. You guys can’t see it, but I’m doing a little fist pump at the news of Bynum’s extension. I just have a good feeling that in four years time we’ll all have forgotten that waiting to lock him down was even something up for debate.

    Exact which players constitute our “key pieces” going forward is probably a matter of taste, but I imagine we can all agree that a core of Kobe, Gasol and Bynum will keep us among the League’s elite for at least the next four to five years. As fans, that’s all we can really ask.

    This particular squad’s depth 1-12 is an insane luxury we likely won’t see again for some time, so we should all try and enjoy it.

  39. Look at the difference between this years and last years opening game starting lineups

  40. Skipping some comments here to express a point of fact:

    Jordan Farmar is still under contract next year under the last year of his rookie scale contract. Rookie Scale contracts for 1st round picks are guaranteed 2 years with the 3rd and 4th years as team options. So unless the Lakers did not pick up Jordan Farmar’s contract, that’s the time he will be a Free Agent. As far as I know, it has been processed so Farmar is still under contract next year for about 1.1m only.

    Ariza and Odom are the unrestricted FA’s we have. Chances are, both get paid under the salary range of what Odom is making himself – that’s if Odom takes the deal. Ariza will most probly get somewhere in the Sasha Vujacic money while Odom should get it in the 8-10m range. Atleast that’s what I think.

    Ok back to reading…

  41. 38- I can see it…

  42. Don’t want to hijack the thread. I mean, it’s obviously good news we locked up Andrew Bynum.

    But to anyone watching the Suns-Hornets game, since when did Amare try to look like Big Game James Worthy? Trying to bring back the goggles?

  43. 42 – Amare got poked in the eye during preseason and it caused some damage, which is why he’s wearing the goggle-like glasses.

  44. 42 — Those aren’t goggles that Amare is wearing, my friend .. those are Joke-leys.
    STAT: giving goggles a bad name.

  45. For those watching the Suns-Hornets, am I the only one who thinks that David West has been really dogging it in the last 5-6 minutes of the game so far? (Currently 3:30 left in the 4th) He’s not even -trying- on those screens…

  46. I believe Kobe and his management team are using the opt-out as a hammer to get an extension after the season is over. He wants the extra 4 yrs and the 10.5% raise.
    What is being overlooked in the economics is the CBA can end in 2010-11. If the League decides to re-negotiate there are only 2 places for salary containment. Rookies…and max contracts. Where can you really shave salary,a rookie making $20mil over 4 yrs,or a contract that pays $20mil EACH season? If the League and Players Association do agree to trim max contracts,existing ones will be grandfathered in,but new ones…

    That aside,there’s a whole season to enjoy first.
    And goodness the Lakers look good. True the competition wasn’t elite,but the manner in which the Lakers won was impressive. I was especially impressed by how much the starters ran.

  47. what if we give kobe enough pressure…i know this is kinda sensitive subject, BUT he may come to decide he can take that pay cut. I mean his endorsements are thru the roof. Everybody saw him in guitar hero. Jumping over a car. He is the shiznit and the whole world knows it. He can make up that money he loses in the contract so quick, ESPECIALLY if he’s winning championships. Thats the idea that has to carry into negotiations

  48. 42-45: I was in Phoenix today on business and decided to go to the game and scope out the competition. Some quick thoughts based on the in person view:

    i. Chris Paul – he can go anywhere on the court. Yea, he got caught once on the baseline, but man can he move. Also, some of those passes were like reverse sling shots. He’s just crazy…but we already knew that.

    ii. David West – this guy really is under appreciated (and damn strong). None of the Suns could contain him when he wanted to break through them for a shot. I always thought it was a fluke that he was an all star last year, but maybe there is more to it. I was really impressed with his athleticism.

    iii. Suns Bench – wow, they really took a hit from the D’Antoni era. They may be counting on their bench more now, but I don’t know if it’s justified yet. Even the typically good players (Barbosa, Diaw) looked meh.

    iv. Amare – he’ll never be a 5. Just doesn’t have the strength or defensive skill set. He can barely keep other power forwards in check. It seems like it’s the way he sets his feet and leans into the other player instead of holding his ground. I’ve seen him play numerous times over the last few years, but it wasn’t until seeing him play live with Shaq in his natural 4 spot that I realized he’ll never be that type of big man. His production and talent is still absolutely amazing, but he’s too much finesse (think Pau, not Andrew).

    v. Nash/Shaq – it looks like these guys made a trade or something. Nash is 4 years older now and Shaq is 4 years younger. Steve just looked a step off.

    vi. Posey – I don’t really have much to say about him other than that I really, really dislike him (unless he was on my team =). First he goes to Miami and wins with Shaq. Then to Boston to beat us last year. Let’s hope lightening doesn’t strike three times.

    All in all, a great opportunity to see two playoff teams. I think that the Lakers can handle both and am more worried about the Rockets and Spurs.

  49. One of life’s little ironies is the fact that when you finally master a tough job you make it look easy.

  50. the other Stephen October 31, 2008 at 6:34 am

    amare looks like he’s getting ready to do a chemistry experiment out there.

  51. Craig W. & Kurt,

    I understand where Omar is coming from. It’s not about us worrying about Kobe’s image. it’s about Kobe worrying bout it. I’m not going to say he’s going to accept less than he can get, but on the PR side, it might serve him well to appear to conced something to the Lakers a la Gilbert Arenas.

    Supposedley Gil left money on the table, but accepted less so that the team could keep Jamison. I don’t believe that for a second, but it sounded good. Now, in Kobe’s case, he kind of put himself in a situation where the Lakers provide him with an elite caliber team, and he should help them have flexibility. It’s like this becasue it’s Kobe. Only he gets judged on EVERYTHING he does, and the drama last summer didn’t help his cause.

    I’m pretty sure the some members of the media are going to remind he public that it was Kobe who demanded a trade, who demanded help, and then got it, so it’s now up to him to allow the Lakers some room to keep it an elite team for him. He’s already signed the lrgest contract in NBA history, and could come across as being very selfish if he insists on getting every penny. I’m sure he has tobe aware of this. PR has been very good for him this past year. We see him back in commercials, Nike is pushing his apparel more, and he’s going to get more. That image will only be enhanced by conceding something to the Lakers. i’ve sid this months ago. Will he? Should he? Who knows. Could he? Yes.

  52. Kobe has probably lost a small fortune with the economic downturn, no way he accepts less than every penny he can get.

  53. wondahbap,
    In the long run, it would probably be beneficial to Kobe both financially and from a “legacy” perspective to take less than what he would be capable of getting.

    Will that perspective overcome the ego boost of getting a max contract, and the chance it would give him to say “F U Shaq Fu, they wouldn’t pay you but they paid me”?

  54. Here’s the other way Kobe can look at this:

    You know why Buss is making money on this team? You know why season ticket holders renewed at a 99% rate? You know why team jersey sales are at the top of the league? I deserve a fair share of that.

  55. Somehow I don’t see Kobe as a “I got more than you” person. I do see him as a “I can kick your a** on the court” person. Those are two different types of ego needs. I don’t see Kobe demanding money so he can say he got more money than Michael – $35M/yr ain’t gonna happen anyway – but I do see him wanting 7 championships.

    As far as his image – he is a lightening rod in the USA, but we really shouldn’t forget he is bigger than Jordan in the rest of the world. Yup! that is true – even though we can’t conceive it because of ESPN and sports writers. Now he just needs 4 more championships.

    One last note: I doubt Kobe will suffer much, from a business point-of-view, any more than Magic did when he left the game.

  56. Kurt,

    I agree with you on that. Especially because Luxury Tax is a an issue the Lakers can “decide” to pay versus not being able to. My point is that perception may be factored in the deal that gets made. Personally, I think the Lakers will give Kobe a a front loaded deal that makes sure he retires a Laker, but that will ensure they have some flexibility to keep a good roster when decision time on Pau comes up. No matter what happens from this point, the Lakers will look like the party who did their part. It will look like they bent over backwards to make it happen. How it actually plays out is in Kobe’s hands.

    Craig,

    I agree with you. I don’t think Kobe needs to be the highest paid player, just recognized as the best player. Kobe is a player who benefits more from the position he’s in now. Rings would bring more money.

  57. Random point:

    I’m watching the Pau interview on lakers.com – can anyone think of a more eloquent foreigner? Where’d he learn his English?

  58. I’m watching the Bulls v. Celtics 1986 1st round game 2 on NBA TV. Jordan’s 69 game. Anyone who thinks that defense or players were tougher back then is simply nostalgic, because this game is nothing but whistles. C’mon.

  59. Craig W. , did Jordan really make 35m in a year?