Kobe signs 2-year extension; likely a Laker for life

Daniel Rapaport —  November 25, 2013

In the wake of the depressing news that Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the season, the Lakers announced via Twitter that the team and Kobe Bryant have agreed on a 2-year contract extension that will keep Bryant in L.A. through the 2015-2016 season.

The extension likely ensures that Kobe will finish his career as a Laker-the 2015-2016 season will be Kobe’s 20th in the league.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard is reporting that the deal is worth $48 million, which means that Kobe will remain the highest paid player in the NBA.

We’ll have more details/analysis of the deal when more information becomes available. Personally, I’m ecstatic that Kobe will play his entire career in purple (blue) and gold, but this contract may be a bit steep for a 35 year old coming off achilles surgery.

Daniel Rapaport

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67 responses to Kobe signs 2-year extension; likely a Laker for life

  1. The 20 year career. Once a wild dream. Now a reality.

    Please note the SI laying on the table: “Alpha Dog”

  2. After doing an exhaustive mathematical review of our cap, a complete review of our roster, and a detailed inspection of the photo above, I have come to one conclusion:

    KOBE RULES !

  3. robert: a big amen to that.

    Go Lakers

  4. “Personally, I’m ecstatic that Kobe will play his entire career in purple (blue) and gold, but this contract may be a bit steep for a 35 year old coming off achilles surgery.”

    I think this statement will represent the view of the majority of Laker fans. I’m glad to see Kobe remain with the organization. But that price basically means the Lakers won’t be fielding a contending team anytime soon. Now if they are willing to pay luxury tax and repeater tax penalties then I may be wrong.

    In a salary cap restricted league I can’t think of any scenario where Kobe Bryant at this stage of his career should be the league’s highest paid player. This will be interesting to watch.

  5. You don’t pay players for past performance you pay for current and future expectations. Kobe should not be the highest paid player in the NBA no way no how.

  6. The Lakers are inching closer to Dolan territory

  7. Well, this is certainly a reward for everything Kobe has done in purple and gold. Initial reaction for me is that Steve Nash won’t be a Laker next year. The Lakers will most likely waive him via the stretch provision. No way they can justify his salary given his decreased production. Lots of questions moving forward. Does Kobe deserve that much money? Apparently, to the Lakers’ management, the answer is yes.

  8. Considering how much money Kobe brings into this team fiscally it is probably a worthy investment. And there is value in keeping Kobe in Purple.

    However, as for building a roster with cap restrictions, I’m hard pressed to imagine a scenario that doesn’t involve trading Gasol and surrounding with mid tier guys. The 1st domino has fallen to next year’s roster.

  9. Yea but it’s not our money. Mostly it’s Time Warner money and my contact there said rating are down this year with Kobe out.

    Do the math, Kobe means eye balls which means higher advertising rates which means more revenue.

    TW lost a bunch with their CBS fight(over 10% didn’t return) they need Kobe and paid a bunch to Lakers. I for one feel 25% discount by Kobe is a fair number. Just stay health Kobe!

  10. Kenny – I dont believe the Lakers can waive new contracts. Although I wonder if an extension is considered a “new” contract or not.

    Personally, I’m happy that Kobe will be around for at least 2 more years, but I am concerned about the salary cap implications.

  11. 2 Yrs – 48 Mil:

    For an individual who’ll be 36 yrs old once the ext. kicks in?

    For an individual who’ll be in his 19th season when the ext. kicks in?

    For an individual who’ll be a lil over 1 yr removed (hopefully) from, arguably, the worst injury any athlete can sustain, once the ext. kicks in?

    Great to see that the Organization will be paying Kobe for what he’s able to provide during those years, PLUS all of his past accomplishments as, arguably, the greatest Laker ever.

    Simply Put – I just hope that they have a plan. They gotta have one.

  12. Just like espn is saying this morning….worse deal for the Lakers cap…..kobe showing….its about the money not the team….see Duncan and etc…

  13. Can the Lakers go way over the cap and pay the taxes??? If they can….maybe that is the plan???

  14. Please consider this is not Jerry ‘a Lakers.
    All about winning!

    This is Jimmy’s Lakers.
    All about revenue.

    Empty seats and low TV rating are number one and without Kobe that’s what happens.

    .

  15. @Manny P…
    I meant that Nash would most likely be waived next year via the stretch provision. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  16. From 50.7 million, the Lakers expected cap will now be reduced to 27.2 million. Should Nick Young opt out, it will increase to 28.4. I use these figures coz I do not think Elias Harris will make the team next year. With cap holds and roster cap space holds not considered, these are what we have:

    If Nash remains with the team and not retire, the Lakers have 28.4M to work with. If he retires and all of his 2014 salary is removed, the Lakers will have 36.8 million. If he is not retiring and we intend to have more cap space, we use the stretch provision on him and have 33.6 million. With only 3 players on board, you can deduct 4.4 million from that figure and renounce all other free agents including the retired ones, upon getting that cap space. Question now then is do you waive Nash, or do you wait for 2015 to spend it?

  17. For a better view, use Mr Coon’s instead.

    http://cbafaq.com/blog/?p=286

  18. This is the exact moment the Lakers have jumped the shark. Very very sad.

  19. NOW do you believe me when I said in the past…Kobe is about Kobe…end of story..This couldve been Kobe’s legacy…taking less to help his team…now he is getting ripped by everyone in the press….

  20. The deal with Time Warner is for $3B for 20 years. The $50M for Kobe is less than 2% of that $3B. There are certain to be wildly varying opinions as to the wisdom behind this contract. I’m glad Kobe is going out as a Laker. But, how it affects the team’s ability to seriously contend over the next few years remains to be seen.

  21. Not surprised in the slightest. It’s not about money for Kobe, it’s about pride and even at 36/37 he still thinks he will be one of the best in the game. He will be making a ton of money for the Lakers even as his career comes to a close and I’m sure TV ratings and revenue factored into the decision to shell out all this money. I’m just ready to see him back on the court.

  22. Year 2018:
    Kobe Bryant-a retired NBA player, a Hall of famer who was 5 times NBA champion playing for Los Angeles Lakers.

  23. Come on guys – why all the negativity? The Lakers have a plan. Don’t believe me? Just look at the guy sitting to Kobe’s left. The well ironed executive pants, the mandatory executive baseball cap, the non-Lakers logo shirt, the well tended doo, and the radiant smile. If that doesn’t fill you with confidence – I don’t know what will.

  24. Unbelievable. What an absolutely horrible deal in terms of re-building a serious Laker contending team anytime soon. It will be interesting to read comments on this site from the many who believe anything and everthing Kobe is good for the Lakers. I’m a Laker fan 1st, this in no way helps the team over this or the next two seasons. I mean, let’s be real, who knows how well Kobe can even play yet. I truly hope I’m wrong, but I believe this signing means the Lakers won’t come close (conference finals) to sniffing a title w/ Kobe. Between his “I eat first” attitude on and off the court, things look bleak.

    Laker ownership sucks.

  25. How much for Hill next season??? Hill and Gasol are either going to get paid or replaced….Those are 2 good players ….

  26. Well, I was wrong on this one. I think this is a mistake, unless it has some kind of out clause.

  27. Would you guys relax? We do not know what the front office of the Lakers have planned but they do have a plan. Also, Kobe deserves the money and he did take a paycut. We will see what happens at the trade deadline.

  28. I really don’t know what our team will look like next year but most likely we will see this team for the next 2 years as constructed and at a much higher cost.

    Here is my guess at just keeping the team together:

    2014 Salary
    Kobe – 25 Million
    Nash – 9 Million
    Sacre – 1 million
    Gasol – 14 Million*
    Jordan Hill – 7 million —- comparable to Splitter contract
    Steve Blake – 4 Million
    Jordan Farmar – 4 Million
    Nick Young – 3 Million
    Wesley Johnson – 4 million
    Xavier Henry – 5 million
    Jodie Meeks – 3 million
    Chris Kaman – 3 million
    Ryan Kelley – 1 million – I think we keep Kelly over Shawn Williams

    Total – 83 Million

    No room for signing any FA and once we resign gasol, which would be a requirement to opening up any cap space unless we let him walk – we would only have about 13 Million in cap space if we renounced the rest of our team …. which to me would not make sense as we would not be able to find the quality and quantity of players we would need to fill out the roster if we did renounce everyone … signing a guy like Deng and losing JHill, blake and farmar to do so would just not make sense.

    I also think that everyone is going to be looking for a raise next year considering almost everyone on our team is outplaying their contract right now.

    I think we might see another group of 1 year deals next year – maybe letting some of our guys walk like we have with Ariza, Shannon Brown, Fisher in the past but for the most part we will try and keep this team together.

    Unless the swap Gasol for another player – I don’t see this team changing that much.

    I might be going too high with some guys but at the most i’m 6-8 million off on what the total would be, which wouldnt change much as we would still be over the cap at 70 million.

  29. I have post stuck in moderation, but I’ll just say this is a bad move. Its not about how much Kobe is worth to the organization (we know he’s worth a lot). Its about how much this affects their ability to build a truly competitive team going forward. I’m shaking my head at this deal.

  30. Before I heard this, I was talking to folk saying that Kobe should be offered $56 over 3yrs, structured so he gets $22 in the first year and $16 in the last. This contract that has been reported, to me, is insane. How do you pay a guy $24m a year when you don’t even know he’ll be healthy?

    Personally, I think LeBron is the only FA in this coming class that is worth trying to sign. That said, he ain’t coming. So, front load a contract for Kobe and make sure he gets paid. Then have plenty of space clear to go after the next FA batch. Be it Love or Westbrook or Durant, there will be guys worthy of max deals coming up and those guys should be able to play with Kobe for his last couple of seasons. This deal, unless it is heavily front-loaded, makes no sense to me, in terms of setting up the team for success.

  31. looks like my comment is stuck, but at any rate, we will have to consider the changing era and what not that reduced the mystique and appeal of LA, especially with dwight leaving.

  32. If the ESPN numbers are correct, then yes, this contract will be hard pressed to have equal value on the basketball court via Kobe’s production. It also takes up more cap space then most Lakers fans would have wanted. The organization is going to take a drubbing over this in the national media. Just wait for the numerous TrueHoop articles on this because you’ll be reading them for the rest of the season. All that being said, there is an extremely rational basketball reason for this contract.

    This is all about courting the next superstar free agent. This is the Lakers signaling yet again that they take care of their own. Right now the consensus pundit wisdom says superstars have made too much money (funny how no one ever says that about the owners). Consensus says superstars need to take less than they are worth in order for a team to have a prayer of competing. For many teams in the NBA this is absolutely true.

    What the Lakers are doing with Kobe’s extension is essentially a huge advertisement for the free agent classes of the next two years. “Come to the Lakers, produce, and this is the one team in the entire NBA that won’t bellyache to you about how you need to give salary discounts.” Any pundit who doesn’t take this into account is missing a big aspect of this extension. This move may have been necessary to put the shine back on the Lakers as the free agent superstar destination after Dwight walked away (for more money after taxes, which a lot of people forget). Now when the Lakers tell a free agent, “Yes, you’ll make less than Kobe for two years but we will take care of you down the road” guys are more likely to believe it. They took care of Magic, and now they’re taking care of Kobe. (Shaq was a decidedly more complex case.)

    Now the question is, will it work? Will this help bring in the next star? Will the Lakers be able to construct a team with Kobe’s salary still the highest in the league? Nobody knows. That’s the fun part. But the fact of the matter is, from my perspective, the contract extension is a highly rational, and dare I say, smart move. Or to put it another way, when the entire league is zigging it ain’t so bad to zag.

  33. BigCitySid: Ironically – I agree with portions of your post – especially the final portion.
    All: I mentioned this a couple of years back when everyone said I was being too negative. I said that I would be OK rooting for Kobe and his records. Well – here we are. I may have just become the most positive guy on the board.

  34. I’m with those who think is bad for the Lakers, but what choice did they have? Negotiations probably went something like this:

    Mitch: So, do you guys have a sense of what you’re looking for?
    Kobe’s Agent: I have some good news for you. In the interest of the team’s ability to stay competitive, Kobe will agree to a paycut.
    MK: That’s great! What are you thinking?
    KA: 2 years, 24.5M/year
    MK: Uh, we were kind of hoping for about half that.
    KA: Sorry, Mitch. We have Jerry Buss on record saying that Kobe is worth about 100M/year to the team in terms of endorsements, jersey sales, tickets and parking. This year, he’ll pass MJ for career points and in 3-4 more, he’ll pass Kareem. If you want to let him walk despite our offer of a paycut… well, you can have that conversation with your season ticket holders and TWC. I guess he’ll just chase Kareem record with another team.
    MK: Heh, heh… No that sounds fine, guys…. Your pen or mine?

    I can’t help but be saddened by what this means for the Lakers ability to chase another ring for the rest of Kobe’s career. Actually, I know exactly what it means: one less star they can put on the roster. Still, given Kobe’s contributions to this team and his arguable place as the Lakers GOAT, he deserves to get what he asks for. Still, I wish he asked for less..

  35. Everyone here knows I give great deference to the FO on personnel decisions, but I cannot understand the benefits of agreeing to a large contract given Kobe’s age and injury history.

    I also do not believe the conspiracy theorists out there who believe Kobe was signed only to have him seek a medical retirement at the end of the season. That would bring the wrath of the league, along with potential legal issues with the insurance company due to fraud, etc.

    Can someone please explain this to me? And I am not looking for answers like: “its easy, Jim is an idiot.” What I want are realistic scenarios where this makes sense. I frankly can’t come up with one.

    Oh, and this is not “kobe being kobe.” The FO pays the bills. Kobe can ask for $50m a year and blaming him if the FO gives in is silly and illogical. Its like if you were to go out there and pay a $100,000 for honda civic owned by Magic Johnson and then blame Magic for selling you the car so expensive. Of course, if the car comes with a trunk full of gold and NBA championship trophies……..

  36. robert: not to worry. you’re not alone. id say the guy wearing the rolex is the most positive guy in the pic.

    Go lakers

  37. This deal has TWC fingerprints all over it. But, thinking it through; does TWC really have any leverage? After all, the ink on the deal with the Lakers has been dry for awhile. . . . could the organization really be this dumb? How much of a “plan” can there be with much smaller cap room? I wait with baited breath for something to ease my malaise.

  38. Wow, what’s next? Signing ‘Melo with whatever cap space is left?

  39. While this deal doesn’t make sense right now, Mitch is a crafty bugger and this has to be part of a bigger plan. The “sign Kobe for peanuts and get two max free agents” plan always seemed a little unrealistic. Now it’s impossible, so, uh…whaddya got, Mitch?

  40. I mentioned within this FB&G Community a couple of weeks ago – at the time when NBA TV ran the Rick Fox interview with Kobe – that I did not believe Kobe when Fox asked him, and I’m paraphrasing here, whether he could see himself winning a 6th ring, while at the same time allowing another teammate to win the finals MVP, and he (Kobe) said that he could. In my opinion, what Fox was actually asking Kobe was whether he’d be willing (or is willing) to hand over the reigns to someone else? I also stated that the Lakers would be HIS team until he decides to retire. I believe that this extension confirmed my belief’s and solidified my point.

    It’s not in my DNA to knock the hustle of someone else, in this case Kobe. By all means, if allowed, get that paper. But what Kobe did was give ammunition to all of those – whether within the media or even within our community – individuals, who always stated that Kobe is all about Kobe and no one else, to start firing at him.

    And today, they’re using him as target practice.

  41. david h: Yes – there are many who love Kobe including yourself, C Hearn, Fern, and rr who have commented recently. Many of the comments above are stating that the Lakers will not be anywhere near the Finals during KB’s remaining career. They probably feel the way I did during much of the 2011-2012 campaign. What kept me going then was following Kobe and his milestones. If a Lakers fan does not like Kobe – then I understand the frustration. I was frustrated in 2012 and again when we signed our current coach. For me this has been by best gift yet from the FO (other than DH – which they took back), The 20 year career for Kobe! Not like a banner – but it is something that makes me very happy! And I concur with your signature: Go Lakers !

  42. Let’s me play devil’s advocate, and assume that the Lakers are paying Kobe $14M over what a Kobe in Tim Duncan mode might have done (i.e. $10M salary).

    If the penalty at that level is $2.50 for every dollar of spend, that means the Lakers are prepared to eat an incremental $35M a year to reward Kobe for what he’s brought to the team (and provide brand protection on their cable deal).

    To me, that doesn’t translate to the Lakers being unable to make deals for top tier talent. Just that they have priced in a beefy “tax” on the last couple of years of Kobe.

    More worrying is what message that sends to other stars who are already leery about playing with the alpha dog of all alphas. If Kobe wants to be paid like prime-time Kobe, he’ll have a harder time subjugating to another younger, in-prime player. That to me is more worrying than whether the Lakers are prepared to spend. I think they are.

  43. robert: thx for the props.

    when you grab them by the you know whats, the heart and mind will follow. i think the laker’s just re-signed the one person in the professional basketball world, achilles tendon notwithstanding that has the who you whats to do the you know what.

    Go Lakers !

  44. What would have higher viewership?

    Winning Lakers team or Kobe jacking up shots on a losing Lakers team?

    Agree with bigcitysid this contract was a disaster for competitiveness.
    Kobe took way too much salary cap space.

    Kobe should be at a point in his career where his real money is income outside of bball salary. $10-12 million would have been a Laker for life move.

    Now its greedy, me first, screw the competitive roster thing ….

  45. Mark Sigal,

    I totally agree with the last paragraph of your post.

  46. Guys like Arnovitz and Abbott will get their jollies off of this, but I blame Jim Buss. If the money is being offered, I don’t blame KB for taking it. Yeah, you can argue he should have said “No, just give me what TD and KG are getting”, but I don’t see that as useful in any way other than to vent animus against Bryant. That said, Kobe already got his thank-you contract, so the FO should have played this harder with Bryant–see him play again first, see how the wind is blowing in FA, then offered him something in the 10-15 range, assuming he was playing well. My armchair read on the issue is:

    1. Buss has gotten word that his fantasy of signing LeBron James is exactly that.
    2. It is a reflection of Buss’ insecurity. Buss has, actually, not really done that bad of a job running the team so far. The Lakers still have a lot of cap space, the Paul thing f’d him pretty hard, and Phil Jackson, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant are not the easiest guys to deal with. I blame the back end of last year’s roster on Kupchak as much as Buss, and the team is doing as well as can be expected this year. But some of the stuff that Buss has done–firing Ronnie Lester, the old scouts, and the equipment manager, the contrarianism with the coaching hires, and now this–indicate to me that he is not really confident in the big office and is worried about perception/criticism more than he should be. Leaders need to be secure, in any endeavor.

  47. Since its a “soft cap” the Lakers will have about 36 million dollars to spend next season before they go over the luxery tax threshold. They will have 48 million for 2015.

    I think you will see a lot of people jumping all over the Lakers for paying Kobe 24-25 million a year, but those same people probably will not have a realistic alternative plan in which the Lakers should have pursued instead.

    There are only about 10 guys in the league who are deserving of “max” money, and based upon last season, Kobe is still one of them… Of course if Kobe comes back a shell of the player he was last season, then obviously the decision to sign him to this contract will seem like it was shortsighted.

  48. Manny,

    I have a long post stuck in mod, but my take is that Buss has gotten word that James has no interest in coming here. I also believe that Buss is not an idiot, but rather is insecure.

  49. Kobe may be worth $24 million, but he is not worth 40% of the Lakers cap.

  50. MannyP: I’m ecstatic and you are questioning the wisdom of the FO. What’s up with that? : )
    rr: I must say the timing of this is a little odd. I wanted them to “start” discussions a while ago, but wow – this is about as surprising as a midnight phone call.

  51. Clearly Buss is golfing buddies with Jim Dolan…..awful move …and I love Kobe but 24 mil a yr…NO ONE ELSE IS OFFERING THAT MUCH MONEY TO HIM at 35 yrs old…NO ONE.

    And I agree with Treylake he is likely worth that and more but he might as well kiss his 6th/7th ring changes goodbye…

  52. Following up on some comments at SSR, there seems to be a maximum amount which a contract extension can decrease by (grammatical?). Kobe’s reduced his contract by the maximum amount allowed by the CBA. The other option was to allow him to become a FA then sign at a lower number, hoping other teams wouldn’t match or exceed.

    I haven’t confirmed on my own, but if true it seems like a decent compromise. Anyone with CBA/money knowledge should follow up.

  53. here is one question nobody has addressed: who is the old, bald guy?

  54. I see that Darius re-Tweeted a Rockets blogger calling Lakers fans “collectvely stupid.”

  55. the Lakers are going over the cap and they don’t care. that’s fine with me. they have the money.

    if Kobe is really only worth 10-12million on the open market, then the other big FAs aren’t worth any more. the Lakers have at least 20-30million in cap space. that’s plenty of room. those FAs can know that the Lakers will pay if the players work harder than others. 10 million would have been nice, but this is fine.

  56. 3xAmazing, that’s my understanding as well.

  57. rr,
    That was more to the effect of “really, we’re stupid?” than an endorsement of his tweet.

  58. Kobe´s extension:
    Whatever Robert, david h and 3x Amazing said-
    Mamba Rules!

  59. Treylake November 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm
    Kobe may be worth $24 million, but he is not worth 40% of the Lakers cap.
    —-
    Well put. Kobe’s totally worth it, from a business, and legacy, perspective.
    But from a teambuilding perspective … mon dieu…

  60. rr,
    That was more to the effect of “really, we’re stupid?” than an endorsement of his tweet

    I know that–just thought it was funny.

  61. 3xAmazing,

    Who was going to offer Kobe $20+ million a year at this stage of his career? A contender? Not likely. Would Kobe really bolt the Lakers for a non-contending team just to get an extra $5 to $10 million a year? No way. Imagine Kobe spending the last two years of his career in Milwaukee because the Lakers insisted on $30 million for two years instead of $48 million. Who would look bad in that scenario the Lakers or Bryant? The Lakers were negotiating against themselves.

  62. I would love to hear what Darius thinks of this contract. He has good insights into the Laker organization.

    I personally am bummed with the way the FO operates now. Been a laker fan since the Jerry West days and really losing interest with the way things seem to be going down lately. Hiring of Brown, Dantoni, firing coaches, entire scouting staff, etc.. This year’s team is so much more entertaining than last year but will end up middle of the road which is basically the worse case scenario.

    Please Darius, post some insights as to what the organization might be doing.

    I honestly love watching kobe play but was so hopeful that they had a better plan than this for 2014.

  63. Seems like everyone now is obsessed with signing guys for less money to have multiple superstars on the same team and have a chance to win a title. Does it have to be multiple superstars? Lakers last two title were won with one superstar (Kobe) and a bunch of good (Odom, Artest, Bynum) or really good (Gasol) players.

    Yes, this contract is about Kobe. It is about Kobe saying “I want more help, but not ‘two superstars’ help”. And he may be right – we have a solid athletic team right now. I don’t think that we need a max guy to compete. Last year we had a hell of a team on paper, and this year team is already looks better. Gasol is finding his game. Hill, Blake, Meeks, Johnson and Farmar (who has championship experience, don’t forget) look like good (or very good if you talking about Hill) role players. Add Kobe and a couple of solid 8-10 million guys and we may be set for a championship run.

  64. Did they learn a lesson about giving Nash 3 years deal ? Did they know the Chicago Bulls PG Rose was out of the season again ? You gave money to a player who did not play a single game yet, from the championship team to average NBA team (from the average mind of the owner), that is it.

  65. chibi: if i’m not mistaken; bald guy be rob pelinka – kobe’s agent.

    Go Lakers

  66. Kobe deserves every penny that he earns from this franchise. I wish it would have been in the 15 million dollar range, but Kevin Ding writes a great article about why it wasn’t and ultimately shouldn’t have been.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1865535-kobe-bryants-contract-extension-is-good-business-for-los-angeles-lakers

  67. WE ARE DOOMED!

    Done in by an selfish aging superstar and person who has no business running the Lakers organization. I knew that we were going to be stuck rooting for Kobes records. It is all we are going to have to root for.

    As for you people who think any other superstar wants to play along side Kobe…think again. DH12 showed you that. Great player but at this point in his career Kobe is basically wanting to pad his numbers and hold the record.

    This deal has destroyed the Lakers cap and any other big time move they could have made.