Thoughts on Kobe Bryant’s Extension

Darius Soriano —  November 25, 2013

As we told you earlier today, Kobe Bryant signed a contract extension to remain with the Lakers for another two seasons beyond the current one. The extension will reportedly pay Kobe a total of 48 million dollars and will keep him as the highest paid player in the NBA over those two seasons.

I am of two minds about this extension.

First, I am happy for Kobe and for the idea that he will remain a Laker through what will likely be his final two seasons as an NBA player. I have said this often, but there is a special relationship fans have with players of Kobe’s status. As a franchise icon and a player whose place in history is cemented among the all time greats, I appreciate that he will only wear one uniform for his entire career. He joins West, Magic, and Baylor as other Lakers who are able to make this claim and that, to me at least, is worth celebrating. I’m sure Spurs fans want the same for Duncan and that Mavs fans want the same for Dirk. When you have a legend who has given so much to an organization, it is only natural to want that player to end his career where it started. With Kobe, it looks as though we will get that and I am happy this will be the case.

My second thought, however, is that this is a lot of money to commit to Kobe even when considering all he’s given to the organization and the legacy he’s built in Los Angeles as a Laker. This isn’t to say Kobe isn’t worth that money. A player is worth what the market will pay him and in this instance, the Lakers – even if they were bidding against themselves – were willing to pay Kobe this amount. So, he’s worth that. Considering the late, great Dr. Buss once went on record saying Kobe is worth upwards of $75 to $100 million to the Lakers’ brand, it’s hard to argue he shouldn’t seek a salary that somewhat reflects that value respective to the collective bargaining agreement. What he signed for is what he can earn, so in that regard he did what he was supposed to do.

The question, however, is whether this is what the Lakers were supposed to do under those same rules that govern the league and that is where this gets dicier.

Forget for a second Kobe’s rehab from his torn achilles. Forget his age and the number of minutes he’s played in his career. Forget everything I wrote just two paragraphs ago and simply focus on the fact that under the new CBA, it is very difficult to build a roster when a player is making as much money as Kobe will make. It’s not impossible, but it is harder.

The new CBA dictates that luxury tax paying teams have fewer exceptions in which they can sign players. It dictates that when you are a tax paying team, you shell out substantially more money for every dollar you are above the tax line. It dictates when you do this repeatedly, the penalties go up exponentially and make it extremely difficult to be profitable while still fielding a roster that demands the type of money you end up paying to be a tax paying team. When the rules of the new CBA came out, the Lakers were very clear in setting expectations for future spending, declaring that they would try to avoid playing the repeater tax and would be more fiscally responsible in this new world. By signing Kobe to this contract, they’ve not gone back on that, but they have made their future ability to build that competitive roster more difficult.

It is obvious to say, but it must be said, Kobe’s extension makes building a top tier roster harder.

Next year, the Lakers were slated to fall well underneath the salary cap, with the potential to sign multiple top tier free agents in an effort to rebuild quickly. Kobe was always viewed as a part of that plan, but the assumption was that his salary would be much less than what it will be and that it would aid in that proposed rebuilding rather than be a potential obstacle in it. This contract, however, makes Kobe one of those assumed top tier (and highly paid) players and removes a hefty chunk of cap space the Lakers could have used to sign an additional player (or two). This may not end up being the worst thing in the world, especially if Kobe can return to top form and produce at a level that mirrors what he did, say, last year. I cannot speak to the odds of that happening, but I can say the hope was the organization would build in a fail-safe for it not occurring by paying Kobe less than what they will and, thus, making it easier to sign more reinforcements to offset any dip in production from #24. That, however, will not be the case.

Further, with Kobe taking up such a large portion of the team’s cap, the ability to sign more than one top upper tier player goes down considerably. In fact, it eliminates it entirely. As it stands now, the Lakers will have room to sign one player to a max contract in the 20-22 million dollar range. They will also have their “room exception” (roughly the amount of the mini-mid level exception and an exception that allows teams who go beneath the salary cap to sign a mid-level player to a contract that pushes them back above the cap, but below the tax line) to sign another player who can contribute. Depending on what happens with Steve Nash (does he retire? does he get waived via the stretch provision?), the Lakers can have roughly 6 to 9 million dollars more in cap space, but those are not givens. This is to say nothing of what happens with the other slew of free agents on the team who the front office may want to keep on hand for future seasons.

All of this is to say that by signing Kobe to this specific extension, the Lakers have done two things that affect their planning for the next two seasons.

One is that they’ve locked up a player who they think will be a major contributor and, by doing that, have set the terms in which they can spend on the remainder of their roster. These aren’t necessarily bad things as they lock up a talent and they allow for crucial planning in terms of how much money will be available to spend on other players. Being able to target “free agent X” now while knowing what they can realistically spend on him is a good thing to know today. Especially considering the window of time to make those decisions AND still work on signing Kobe next summer was going to be relatively short.

Second, however, is that the Lakers are banking on Kobe being Kobe for two more seasons and that the investment in him at this amount is worth more than trying to sign multiple players at higher amounts while still trying to keep Kobe in the fold. This, of course, is complicated for a variety of reasons, but chief amongst them is the desire to keep Kobe in house and Kobe’s desire to maximize his earning potential (something he was honest about from day one). Maybe the Lakers could have played hardball with Kobe and tried to get him to sign for less. Maybe Kobe could have voluntarily taken less money to help out the franchise (this is a concept popular with fans, though as someone who doesn’t like anyone telling me I should say “no thanks” to money someone wants to pay me, I’m uncomfortable saying another person should – especially Kobe Bryant).

It’s also complicated by the idea that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Said another way, there’s no guarantee Kobe at a lower dollar amount gets the Lakers multiple top tier players. Don’t get me wrong, it makes it possible and that possibility is definitely important. But Kobe at 2 million dollars next season doesn’t guarantee the Lakers will suddenly sign LeBron and Chris Bosh. It’s nice to think of it that way, but that’s more wishful thinking than practical outcome.

In essence, what we see with this extension is the Lakers dealing with a franchise icon the best way they know how. They think he’ll be back performing at a high level and know that he is a major draw and money maker for the organization. For them, this is a win-win from that angle. But, what they’ve also done is made their future planning harder, even if they’ve made it clearer at the same time. This isn’t the type of contract you can simply hand out and hope things go well. There needs to be a firm plan (or at least a very clear vision) in place in how the rest of the roster will be built around a player making this much money. That would be true if the player we were talking about wasn’t named Kobe Bryant, by the way.

The fact that is the player’s name, however, means this decision carries extra weight. That can be both good and bad. We’ll see how the Lakers look next season and the ones beyond that to fully judge this deal. But, for now, what we know is that the front office has put their marbles in the Kobe Bryant basket. Historically, that has been a pretty good choice. Whether that’s true down the line, well, we’ll see.

Darius Soriano

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90 responses to Thoughts on Kobe Bryant’s Extension

  1. I’m happy for Kobe and happy for the team/fans. 20 years in one jersey is special. I think Jim Buss has been a scapegoat and done a respectable job given the circumstances. Instead of looking at 1 max guy I think they can make this work by getting Pau back for 2 years at a fair #, then sign a guy like Deng for 2 years as well. Is that a title team, probably not, but it’s almost certainly not a title team had Kobe taken less as well. Make sure you stay flexible for 2016 and after. Also, this season has been fun and can’t wait for Kobe to come back.

  2. Kobe = Greed

  3. “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. ” Darius – you have perfectly summarized my feelings about this, by using that one expression. I obviously dream of a Laker return to championship glory as many of us do. I have openly stated that I dread the approach of the franchise record of 8 years without a trip to the Finals. That said – with this – I at least have Kobe – the “bird in hand”. More like an Eagle. The FO has eliminated the complete nightmare of losing as a team and somehow messing up the final Kobe years. So for those of you who are railing against this – I hear you – however a lot more than Kobe’s contract needs to change in order for us to return to full glory

  4. Bringing this from last post:
    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

  5. I am shocked by the Kobe extension on a number of levels:

    1) Kobe hasn’t stepped on the court yet. There was no need to ink a deal until the FO was sure of what they were getting. Even if he is the Kobe of old, the reality is that he would not have received offers in that annual salary range this off season. If Kobe is a middling performer then the Lakers are on the hook for 40% of their available cap space for the next two years.

    2) Opportunity missed. The Lakers had everything to gain by allowing themselves to miss the playoffs this year. I know the push back is that these are the Lakers and they always play to win. However, with Kobe injured and a hodge podge roster there was little fan pressure to win it all. The Lakers were looking at a rare opportunity (for them) to secure a high draft pick and clear the books of virtually all of their contracts.

    Had the Lakers taken their lumps these next two years — drafted well and spent wisely — they would have been on their way up by the 2017 season. Unless every contract the Lakers sign this summer is timed to expire with Kobe’s the team will not have the opportunity that they would have had this offseason. The likelyhood is that the Lakers will sign players who can help Kobe get his sixth ring this summer and they will be deadweight by 2017.

    Time and again people in the know tell you that the worst place to be in the NBA is in the middle of the pack — not good enough to win it and not bad enough to acquire the needed talent. They will also tell you that the very worst place to be is in the middle of the pack with no cap room. My fear is that is were the Lakers will be in two years.

    This extension was a mistake. Jim Buss took the safe path and has likely relegated the Lakers to sustained mediocrity. What the franchise needed was for the FO to have some thick skin and deal with pain of sub par performances for the next 18 months and in so doing rebuild a long term winner.

  6. The more i think about it, the more i like it. Sure we lost some flexibility, but it was always more of a pipe dream than anything. And remember we were coming off of a summer where we had the most money, years, and locale to offer to Dwight and still lost out. Laker mystique, Laker class, Laker way of doing business needed to be emphasized in a time of the new CBA.

    Also, with Dwight bowing out after a year with Kobe, do you realistically think somebody of Kobe’s caliber will join us and be able to work it out? Gasol was an outlier. We won’t really have another one of those soon. This move also sort of tells me that the FO thought about it objectively. We weren’t tanking, and Kobe wasn’t going to be sidekick again, and LA lost a lot of its glamour. So you do what you can given that.

    Lakers, with this deal, basically signaled that they will stick to their brand. Loyalty, taking care of players who busted their butt for them, playing through injuries and whatnot. Also, in an era of moneyball, Lakers are basically saying that we take a holistic approach, considering stuff that’s not part of your box score. With injuries to the top stars, every player out there probably is worried about their mortality and how one injury could have them be dumped by the very franchise that welcomed them.

    Not the Lakers, this deal is saying. We aren’t the Clippers and Jim isn’t Sterling and LA Lakers is not really worried about a couple years of drought if it means treating our star right.

    These things will be great stuff to sell to stars who are worthy of succeeding Kobe. The Lakers don’t just hire you back as a scout or a technical assistant or something, Lakers pay you.

  7. To be a true leader, one must know how to follow. former laker greats we all know and love have already set the precedent. it’s kobe’s turn to follow in their footsteps. there is no better time than the present to begin that journey. for those who believe in kobe, believe it will happen.

    Go Lakers

  8. It has been fun to watch the Lakers begin to turn into a team this year. D’Antoni’s system has helped Blake and Farmar become useful point guards which is something the Lakers have sorely needed. The team is running a motion offense based on pick and rolls and players who have not shown much elsewhere are beginning to look like they belong. Why not wait and see how many of the current Lakers could be part of the future? By signing Kobe, the Lakers are almost guaranteeing that any players who show NBA skills will be snapped up by other teams. From this perspective, the Lakers are already saying that these players are just place holders until they can figure out who the other superstar will be. It would have made more sense to wait and be certain which current players (if any) were worth keeping.

  9. Can someone weigh in once and for all on the truth or falsity of the widely-reported statement that this was the least Kobe could legally accept under the new CBA? Darius’ hyperbolic example of Kobe resigning for 2M suggests that this rumor is untrue, but can someone lay this to rest definitively? If 48M is not the minimum, was there a different number that comprised the minimum for which Kobe could be extended? Thanks.

  10. While it appears that my opinion is in the minority I don’t like the move. There is no denying that Kobe has been arguably the best Laker ever. There was no reason to offer the extension now. Why take virtually all of the flexibility you have off the table when you didn’t need to?

    When you operate in a league driven by youth and a hard salary cap why would you spend 40% of your available cap on a player that will be 36 years old before the extension starts? Jim Buss has gotten unfairly beaten up before this decision. However, this appears to be an emotional decision and one that will not turn out in the Laker’s favor.

  11. This is a classic example of a team overvaluing and overpaying its own talent. This is not 2005.

  12. lil pau -

    Tim Duncan went from a max deal to $10 mil a year. So, I am not cionvinced that the Lakers hands were forced to give Kobe $24 mil a year.

  13. The hard part with evaluating something like this is that we know the result but are not privy to the real facts at play behind the scenes. for example:

    did kobe make it clear through his agents that he expected this done quickly and without fuss or else he might be tempted to test the free agency market?

    do MK or Kobe have inside information about players interested in coming to LA (and if so, have those players expressed that Kobe better be locked up?) Or the opposite: do they have inside information suggesting that NONE of those big names are coming?

    have Kobe’s agents been fielding calls from other teams, some of which suggested they would ‘overpay’ for Kobe in order to get a superstar in their city and a correlative boost of jersey sales, etc., thereby quietly leveraging the Lakers to make a higher offer?

    has Kobe quietly suggested that, if this deal isn’t done for big money, he would be quiet happy chasing a ring while also chasing down MJ and KAJ? Could one imagine what Kobe might mean to a borderline-contending team like Portland or the Timberwolves?

    what role is played by Time Warner? Is their contract with the Lakers, which apparently no one has seen outside of the tippy top of the two pyramids, specific about either retaining Kobe in particular or a superstar in general? How much influence do they have on this matter, if any? Are they entitled to a sitdown with Mitch and Buss Jr on major personnel matters? Is there a kill clause (or more likely, penalties) if the team is not competitive or if ratings drop below a min threshold?

    What about season ticket holders? As one myself, I received a longish quiz from the Lakers a couple of weeks ago that included questions about my feelings about the direction the team is taking. Did the results suggest that this deal better be done quickly? Are they afraid of STH attrition next year (that was another series of questions– how likely am I to re-up)? Don’t forget: its not just about tix– fewer fans in the bldg means lower jersey sales, parking fees, beer sales, TV ratings…

    to what degree do the lakers value financial gain (ancillary revenue provided by a star) versus being competitive under the cap? On this matter, I prefer them ‘overpaying’ (if that’s the right word) for Kobe than acting like the Celtics or Sonics and tanking to get a cheap pick.

    etc. etc.

  14. Todd, that was before the new CBA. back then, they could also have paid Duncan 50M if they wanted to. Everything’s different now. Doesn’t mean you’re not right, just that the rules have changed and someone who knows them definitively needs to weigh in on this issue once and for all.

  15. Maybe the FO should have taken a closer look at the Brooklyn Net’s box scores. Kobe will be putting up numbers similar to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett — way, way below his career averages.

    Obviously, I do not see this as a good move. And the reason isn’t just Kobe. I know his signing will mean that the Lakers will be ‘motivated’ to make additional moves designed to win now.

    Look for Carmelo to sign a 4 year Max deal over the summer. How do you think he’ll look as a 32 year old franchise centerpiece in 2017 with 2 years left on his contract? Maybe the FO doesn’t look at the Knick’s standings either.

  16. Excellent post Lil Pau.

    It sums up that there is more to this than just #basketballreasons. Kobe is a symbol of the City and a treasure of the franchise. This is how the franchise shows future stars that if you bleed purple, you get paid gold.

  17. Ramona Shelburne: “.. the deal is worth $48.5 million. Bryant .. will maintain his status as the NBA’s highest-paid player over the course of the extension ..”

    2014-15: Kobe Bryant – $23.5 million.
    2014-15: Amar’e Stoudemire – $23.4 million.

    2015-16: Kobe Bryant – $25 million.
    2015-16: Joe Johnson – $24.9 million.

    I’ve always felt that every Superstar athlete has to have a Big Ego in order to be able to reach that Superstar Status. It’s a good thing, and Kobe’s is arguably bigger than any other player in the history of the NBA. The numbers above leads credence to this. Very well thought out and definitely calculating, to say the least.

    As I mentioned earlier today on the previous thread, I can’t knock the hustle. If the organization is making that paper available for him, he’d be a fool not to snatch it up. What I can do, however, is sit back and laugh at the Ego of the man that we all know as Kobe Bean Bryant.

  18. I see two interrelated issues in this decision: (a) maintaining the idea of “The Laker Way” and (b) maintaining faith in Jim Buss as an owner. The idea of the Laker Way is a certain way of treating players, which the team perceives as key to making the Lakers a superstar destination. I suspect the front office decided that even if this does hamstring the team for the next two years it will be worthwhile in terms of maintaining the brand with players. Secondly, if under Jim Buss’s ownership the Lakers were to let Kobe go, there is the risk of players assuming that under Jim the Laker Way is dead, that all prior assumptions about the way the Lakers treat their players is in doubt. Part of the rationale for the contract is to show continuity in ownership philosophy.

  19. Da king stay da king

  20. Apparently ownership has rationalized that it’s much easier for Kobe to become the All-time NBA scoring champ than win a 17th title with him. For this longtime Laker fan (since ’65), this is not a happy day.

  21. do MK or Kobe have inside information about players interested in coming to LA (and if so, have those players expressed that Kobe better be locked up?) Or the opposite: do they have inside information suggesting that NONE of those big names are coming?

    My guess is that it’s the second one, as I suggested in the other thread.

  22. I love all these “fans” that want Kobe to play
    for peanuts while the lakers rake in 9 figures off his name. Your problem is with the collective bargaining agreement, but of course here come all the fair weather Lakers fans calling him selfish and saying he’s costing the team a title. No anger directed towards the NBA for setting up a system where the biggest draw in the league has to have his earning capacity capped out at 30% of what’s he’s financially worth. Its not kobes fault Memphis paid gay 80 million or Atlanta gave Joe Johnson 120 million. And I don’t care that Duncan took a pay cut. For one Kobe is still a perrenial 1st team all NBA player, including last season. And for two, the spurs are a poor small market team, while the Lakers have a 4 billion dollar local TV deal. Sorry Lakers, you pay that luxury tax and give Kobe what he wants. For fans on here to act otherwise is mind blowing and shows the perfect example of why people trash Lakers fans-for being phony

  23. It has been less than fun to read about things from a distance, but I couldn’t help but comment about this issue.

    Kobe is a symbol, about the Lakers, about the city and destination, and about what is expected. As such, taking much less would not only erode the symbol, but probably contribute to accomplishing the goal of rebuilding a title contender. We all like to think money will solve all things, but – if you read all the surrounding articles – the Laker likelyhood of signing two max players was always somewhat a pipe dream. This decision just puts that fantasy firmly to bed.

    Many of the fans on this blog have been extremely critical of the Laker ownership and FO – IMO somewhat unfairly. This is not going to change. Therefore, Kobe and Jim Buss should just do what they feel is good for their respective interests and not really take into account all this babble. There are a number of business and basketball reasons why this decision is reasonably sound, starting with taking some guesswork out of future planning and simplifying the options. This is often a neglected aspect of good business decisions – they have to be made in a timely manner.

    This is team becoming better before our eyes. Perhaps we should try to resign some of these players – the job just became easier – rather than concentrate on some nebulous ‘max’ player we can’t really name now and exists in extremely limited supply and great demand.

  24. rr – if the FO knew that no FAs were coming to play with Kobe all the more reason to wait and ensure that he could play at a high level before committing to him.

    I just don’t see the rush. Are the Lakers worried that Kobe would feel slighted? The team has paid him the max on every contract. It was completely reasonable to take a wait and see approach to his performance.

  25. Adding any combination of Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Andre Drummond or Eric Bledsoe will make Lakers a very possible contender in 2015. Jordan Hill is an excellent player dollar for dollar, Steve Blake, Nick Young, and Jordan Farmar are capable back-ups, and Gasol is a capable big. Kobe’s extension does not kill the Lakers hopes, it only makes Mitch earn his money.

  26. So Todd what if Kobe comes back and is killing it? Perhaps no discount from his camp? I expect Pau and Nash to be gone with money to spend for a center and PG they will be fine. Unless you see someone out there next year better then Kobe. In spite of Aaron UPS driver claiming James is coming that was never happening.

  27. I just don’t see the rush.

    Me neither, as I have said many times, and I said in the other thread that I think Buss simply got worried that Kobe would bail. But the Lakers are paying Kobe 30M worth of respect this year, and there is virtually no chance that any other team would give him more than 15M in the open market. Add that to his age, injury, and mileage, backing this deal requires enormous faith in both Kobe and in the acumen of the FO.

  28. Anonymous

    Even if Kobe kills it where could he go to get anywhere near that amount? Kobe would need to go to a non contender ‘for the money’. No way to spin this as a good move now as there was no reason to do it until after the season.

  29. “I just don’t see the rush.” Once again – exactly what I said last November.

  30. It’s funny that people compare Kobe to Amare and Joe Johnson. Amare hasn’t been STAT since he left Phoenix. He had one good year in NY, but he still didn’t win crap. What has Joe Johnson ever won??? Kobe is being paid, like KAJ and Magic were paid, for accomplishments and team loyalty. Those things are important. D12′s leaving cast doubts around the league about our front office’s ability to get things done. This shows that above all else, the Laker will treat loyalty with honor. There will be no 4 year instead of 5 year deals for our superstars ala Minnesota (your hear me Kevin Love). We will treat our stars like stars, we will hold them high above all else (even when they are holding us up).

  31. Kobe is a known quantity. Those that think you could lowball him in a veteran’s minimum sense is daydreaming. Sure I would have loved Kobe at 15 million or 8 million less than what he’d make next year but getting him as a fixture and as a known quantity removes all doubt.

  32. @Busboys4me
    You nailed it man. Great post. We’re going to get a max player- maybe not in 2014, but for sure in 2015. I have zero issues with Kobe getting this extension. I thought it might be for less, but from what I’m reading it couldn’t have been much less anyway by the CBA rules.

  33. While I understand Kobe’s historical importance to the Lakers I think this is a bad deal. More so because it creates a sense of desperation in filling out the roster. The Lakers will have a two year window to win it all. The ‘in for an ounce in for a pound’ mentality will prompt the Lakers to overpay (per season and in contract length) to win now. It’s a recipe for disaster.

  34. Patrick Dimalanta November 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I think we need to examine the summer of 2014 FA class so we can take this signing in the proper context.

    1. Lebron – has to opt-out, not coming to the lakers anyway (don’t want him either)
    2. Melo – has to opt-out, has to take 30M less to sign elsewhere
    3. Wade- has to opt-out, probably wants to retire in Miami
    4 Paul Pierce- Would he want to play for his hometown?
    5. Zach Randolph- Has player option for 2015 worth 17M
    6. Dirk- no way he leaves Dallas
    7. Pau Gasol- Does he take a massive paycut? Unlikely. Does the FO pay him at market value? Unlikely
    8. Chris Bosh- has to opt-out
    9. Tim Duncan- player option for 2015. retires as a Spur
    10. Tony Parker- non-guaranteed 2015 deal
    11. Rudy Gay- Player option for 2105

    So really… who are we holding out 2 max FA spots for? Dallas chose not to defend their title and bet on FA signings and they struck out on everyone they went after.

    I dont know what the plan is… but resigning Kobe at this price says they still want to win now. That probably means we sign FA’s in 2014 rather than saving our cap space and going after Love the next year.

  35. Interesting rationalization going on here. So the Lakers couldn’t resign Kobe for much less than $20+ million a year. But had he went to free agency other teams would have been free to offer whatever they wanted? That doesn’t make any sense. The Lakers hands were not tied. They bid against themselves and paid well over market value (based on the cap) for their own player. And they have yet to even see him play a game at full speed post surgery.

    I understand wanting to put behinds in seats. But who is going to pay top dollar over the next three years to see Kobe and a bunch of minimum salary guys struggle to win 40 games a year? We can talk brand all day. But this is Los Angeles. The only brand that counts is winning. And the Lakers have made winning more difficult for themselves over the next few years with this deal.

    For fun I looked at the top six teams in the league record-wise and their highest paid players. That would be Indiana, San Antonio, Portland, Miami, OKC, and LAC. The highest paid player on the list is LeBron at about $19 million. That’s a steal for him. Tony Parker is the lowest at $12 million. And he’s the Spurs highest paid player this season. Once again I’m talking salary cap value, not “what he’s done for the team” value. Meanwhile the Lakers are still waiting on 35 year old Kobe to play his first game of the season.

  36. Kobe is a known quantity.

    Not anymore.

    Looking here, at SSR, and at Kevin Ding’s piece, the arguments in favor of the extension, are, basically:

    1. LeBron wasn’t coming here anyway.
    2. Making Kobe the highest paid-player in the game for his age-36 and age-37 seasons is a symbol of organizational continuity, stability, commitment, and a message to future FAs.
    3. Who are we to criticize the Lakers’ FO?

  37. Small minds think small. Big minds think big. Jim is on the right path.

  38. Jim is on the right path.

    This fits nicely under #3 above.

    But, really, what is this path that you’re seeing, and where does it lead? A lot of Pro-FO people around the blogosphere are now talking about Durant and Westbrook in 2016. But leaving free agent spec aside, be it about 2014, 15, or, now 16, my issue is that Kobe is 35 years old with a lot of mileage, coming off a terrible injury, and I think it is very reasonable to ask why the org at least didn’t watch him play for a month before committing to making him the highest-paid player in the league for the next two years.

    The answer, I suppose, is “Who are you? They have seen the medical reports and watched him in practice.”

  39. This is horrible for the Lakes—How will Farmar, Meeks, Nick, Pau and Hill feel about reupping for the kind of money that will be left for them? Haven’t they contributed? Haven’t some of them already sacrificed on the money end? Who is going to want to fill their places? Who’s going to have the heart to keep faith with a team that does this to the team? The FO should have ascertained Kobe’s egotistical needs last year and signed good players to longer contracts instead of making max room and then throwing half of it away on Kobe. You’re not the best player, Kobe, and who would insist on being highest paid (over Amare for X sake)? Take a page from Duncan’s book.

  40. Busboy nailed it. Ain’t nobody winning with Anthony give me 3 guys at $5 who play their hearts out. You know like Kobe had done for 27 years.

  41. people saying “my issue is”…

    none of you are paying the salary, not directly anyway and most not even indirectly, well very indirectly maybe…

    it doesn’t matter how many different categories can be made, what anyone thinks about opinions has nothing to do with what the truths of the matter are.

    we don’t know the actual number, but whatever it is, it’s fair for the work being done. both sides agree to this. there is money left over for other players and as role players, the team already has some nice pieces. the team is playing hard. that’s all fans can expect, even Laker fans. if the Lakers continue to make an effort to find good players and those players play hard, good things will happen.

    there aren’t any sure bets in this life unless you want to use cliches like death and taxes…

  42. here’s some perspective…

    for all his faults, Kobe in his prime could score 50 points EVERY night. he could explode for 60 points in 3 quarters or 80 in a game if needed. we know this because it happened.

    now, he’s broken down, a shell of himself and he can only give a consistent 35points a game(if it was really needed. there’s no way he should need to do that).. he could get 50 on a good night, that makes him about 65% of his prime(just throwing numbers around, we haven’t seen him playing yet, but the FO seems to think it’s realistic). that would still put him in the elite class, even ravaged by time.

    the Lakers currently have a very young team and this group repects Kobe. there may be downside, but there’s still considerable upside.

  43. people saying “my issue is”…

    This is directed at me. I never said, or implied, that I was paying the salary. If Kobe can get 48M from the Lakers, power to him. They certainly have plenty of money, and Kobe has meant a lot to the franchise. I just think it is a bad basketball decision, and an overly hasty one. That’s it. I hope I’m wrong.

    Like I said above, this fits under #3–the “Who are you to criticize the Lakers’ FO?” approach. It’s old news.

  44. the Lakers currently have a very young team

    They don’t, actually. The only rotation player under 26 is Henry, whose playing time will likely plummet with Kobe back, unless he (Henry) suddenly comes on strong, in which case Young may be the guy who takes the biggest cut in MPG. When KB returns, they will have four rotation guys, plus Nash, who are over 31. Young is 28, Williams is 27, and Hill, Farmar, Meeks, and Johnson are all 26. Nothing wrong with that, but this is not really a particularly young team.

  45. Im happy he is a Laker for life.

    When assessing how good Kobe will be, I see a lot of people throwing scoring numbers around. I think Kobe will be able to score big for a long while, but to me the question is his defense; will he be ablo to play sound positional defense within the team concept?

  46. The deal is what it is. What plan specially do the Lakers have in line to ensure us being a title contender other than HOPING we can land top FAs…last we had a big 4 and on paper looked unbeatable, well we all know how that turned out…Kobe taking $10-15 million doesn’t guarantee us anything, and is the lack of $8-10 million really the difference between title or bust?? Also people like to say oh Duncan, KG, and LeBron took payouts but their teams had specific and tangible immediate plans in place to improve the team, they didn’t have to wait a year…also not impressed by the upcoming FA class

  47. Busboys4me,

    It’s not a comparison that I made. It’s a fact that I presented.

    It’s quite obvious that Kobe structured his contract in such a way that guarantees that he’ll be the highest paid player in the league through the duration of his extension. Slightly above STAT, who’s scheduled to be the highest paid player next season and then slightly above Johnson, who’s scheduled to be the highest paid baller the year after. Hence the quote from Ramona Shelburne. Or are you of the belief that this is just a coincidence? Personally, I can care less about what STAT accomplished with the Suns or the Knicks and the same can be said in regards to what Joe Cool achieved, whether in Phoenix, The A or my neighboring borough of Brooklyn. The point of the post was about Kobe’s ego. Which, btw, I also commended and which wouldn’t allow him to be paid a penny less than the aforementioned two.

    Also, I mentioned within the post – and within 1 of my post from the previous thread – that Kobe would be an idiot to turn down what he was being offered by the organization.

    Don’t allow your emotions, when it comes to Kobe, to get in the way of the facts.

  48. Only time will tell if this is a good deal or not… we’ll see. In Lakers we trust.

  49. “Wait for Kobe to play in games and then pay him” is a cheap approach. Lakers are not cheap.

  50. rr-26-27 is young.
    please, they still can learn. in Los Angeles people that age might still live with their parents, but…they won’t be young much longer.

    and i wasn’t picking on you in particular. i was just noticing the way you were discrediting by catagorizing. other than that, the rant was in general amazement to the herd chewing the cud. media, myself, you, the whole lot of em…

  51. Are you kiddin’ me?? ARE YOUR FRICKEN KIDDIN ME????? People, I don’t know how many of you have followed Kobe’s career, but this is Kobe Fricken’ Bean Bryant!! I have seen this guy play amazing bball with 5 injuries, each of which would have sidelined a weaker person. Kobe is a warrior. Do your really doubt that he will do all the training necessary to compete and compete like his life depended on it? REALLY??????? REALLY!!!!!!!!!?????????????

    GOOoooooOOOOOO LAKERS !!!!

  52. The Lakers paid for Kobe the brand more than the player. People gping on and on about 2014 class. There is not a single name there outside Lebron (and he is not coming to LA) that should be on the Lakers radar. Like i said before we dont need to blow our cap space next summer. This might be a shock to a lot of people here but we cant win every year i dont expect the Lakers to be contenders until at least 2016 i hope im weong but looks that way. This move is a two fold stategy, taking care of Kobe and telling future FAs that they be taken care of and that the FO rewards loyalty.

  53. Whenever I hear the Duncan comparison I laugh. Duncan was playing with an ascending Tony Parker and also DUNCAN didn’t take a pay cut in terms of his real value to his franchise. There is a reason Duncan has played on 3 of the lowest rated finals. Here is a news flash, Mitch Kupchark is smarter than the people critiquing his decision. You guys think if David Stern didnt recind the CP3 trade to the Lakers you would be losing your minds over this? The Lakers know Lebron isnt coming which leaves them with no desirable free agents. Kobe is better than the remaining free agents.

  54. Lil pau said it best. There are a lot of things we simply don’t know about. Maybe they know we’re not getting a top free agent in 2014, so you might as well pay Kobe. And as it was said above, the problem is the CBA not the Lakers’ FO. Parity doesn’t work in basketball as it works for football, but that’s a totally different topic.

    What should concern us all is: what is our plan? We have a goal (winning) but how are we going to accomplish that?

    Let’s assume the FO knows that Lebron isn’t going to wear purple and gold nor any other max contract-worthy FA available. So, we have the Bird rights for everyone currently on our roster and we should make the best out of them. Let’s assume that Nash won’t be in our books next year (because if he is, then we’re simply stuck with the current team, basically) due to medical reasons and let’s also assume that our current squad keeps playing like they are now…

    Are we going to sign Deng at 10M+ next season? I don’t think he’s worth it and I would rather keep Johnson at 2-3M per and preserve some cap space.

    Who are the available PG’s in 2014 and 2015? Lowry will probably cost more than 6M per and I don’t see him as someone who would mesh well with Kobe. Maybe we would be better off spending those 6M on Blake+Farmar and just ride the hot hand on each game. I really like our current combo of PG’s.

    Who are the available PF’s? Kevin Love is available in 2015 and he should be our goal. However, signing Jordan Hill is also a must and I don’t think he will get less than 9M per. Ideally we should have them both by 2015, but I’m not sure that’s possible.

    And who are the available C’s? There’s a QO for Greg Monroe in 2014 while Drummond and Hibbert will probably be free agents in 2015. I don’t think Hibbert is leaving Indiana, specially since they are contenders and I think Detroit will offer a max contract to Drummond. That leaves Greg Monroe. Oh, and that Gasol guy as well. Can we sign Gasol at 10M? Can we get Monroe at 10M? I think they answer to both of these questions is no, but that’s the FO to figure out.

    I would be extremely happy if we could have three out of Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol, Kevin Love and Greg Monroe. And if we keep two of them (preferably Hill and Love) I would also be very happy, even though I really like Monroe’s game.

    But it all goes back to Kobe’s salary… That’s 40% of the salary cap tied up and I don’t think there’s enough room to sign everyone needed for a championshiop caliber roster. And I’m fine with it. We’ll have plenty of cap room in 2016 and plenty of free agents available. As long as the team keeps playing hard in every game and trying to win, I’m ok with it. Tanking for a draft pick is not the Lakers’ way and it’s not something anyone pays to see…

  55. Why do it now?

    1) It sets a direction – and we, as a team, needed that.
    2) It allows the front office to concentrate on other, less stable issues.
    3) It demonstrates that our destination is not only desirable from a location standpoint, but we treat our stars with some respect, but they have to be part of the team.
    4) It locks up one of the most marketable icons in sports today – this is money in the bank and Kobe brings it.
    5) The organization has seen a lot more of Kobe than we have. Therefore, much of our criticism reflects how we feel about the front office, rather than the player.

    The comment about how Dallas retained maximum flexibility, in order to be able to be part of a gaggle of teams, then simply struck out, is a lesson in why flexibility frequently doesn’t result in success. We started this process this summer and there was a point of diminishing returns, after which we needed to sign Kobe. Flexibility is great, until you establish a direction – then you need to make decisions and move on.

  56. Those who oppose this deal should please explain who they would have brought in with the money they think Kobe should have given up? I think its a sad day in America when people who haven’t worked as hard can seat and vilify a contract that a hard working individual has earned. What Lebron-Wade-Bosh did is a once in a life time thing, the new CBA wont allow for that to happen again. Also, lets be clear about this Lebron took less money myth, he makes $2.4 Million less than Carmelo who has gotten the Max each time. So Lebron’s so called taking less is $2.4 million less than he could have made and on the other hand Kobe is taking over 33% less and people are killing him? If not jealousy or hate what other reason can people really give for being mad at Kobe’s extension? The Lakers are still in position to do exactly what they realistically can pull off in free agency. This deal doesn’t change anything with regards to the off-season.  I will ask again, please explain to me who would spend the money Kobe should have given up on? CAP SPACE isn’t a player. Go ask the Dallas Mavericks how many point/rebounds/assists that CAP SPACE has registered for them the past 2 seasons. Lastly, lets be respectful and stop mentioning Tim Duncan in the same sentence as Kobe when it comes to Salaries. IMHO, the Spurs are over paying for Duncan as he does absolutely nothing in terms of off the court revenue for his team. Kobe is wealthier than the owner of the Spurs….I will give you a moment to let that sink in. Now realize with that information I just provided that it makes no sense at all to compare what Tim Duncan makes to Kobe because comparing ownership/franchise value/etc, Tim Duncan is stealing money from his team compared to Kobe.

  57. Darius, your analysis of the cap situation only works if the Lakers renounce all of their current roster except the ones they can’t renounce — Nick Young, Bob Sacre, Elias Harris. To have cap space, all the rest of them have to be gone. They can be renounced and then re-signed afterwards, but the Lakers lose their Bird rights. That includes Pau. They’d likely go elsewhere,

    It’s well-known that players don’t want to play with Kobe, and money isn’t going to be reason enough in the current system. Until he decides to quit, the Lakers will not get any real help.

    I think they’ll bring most of the current roster back for 2 more years, and structure it so they have nobody on the roster after Kobe retires. Forget about winning for that time frame. It will be Kobe exclusively going for personal records, and blaming the losing on the Lakers’ inability to get him enough help.

  58. Craig hits the nail in the head in 1 blow. Kobe being a part of the team not only this year but beyond cements his place in the NBA. 20 years in 1 team when its all said and done. No one, and I mean NO ONE has done that. Ever.

    Kobe has been w/ the Lakers for 3 decades counting the end part of the 90s, the whole of 00 and atleast half of 10. In a world where you’re only as good as your last performance, this is the ultimate symbol of loyalty, commitment and success. Even if Kobe does not get #6 or #7, he would have played straight out of High School straight into the NBA and stayed with 1 team. 20 years.

    As I pick apart the comments being made, the little that we know, this amount did not even pass thru a negotiation. If you believe that part, this was an offer made by the franchise and was welcomed by Kobe. Obviously Pelinka has alot to do with it, but for Kobe to warrant it means he’s earned it. The Lakers are obviously not obligated to give him a dollar more, but they have showed the ultimate act of good faith and it will resonate to other free agents. Come to LA and you will be treated well. If your blood bleeds purple, you will be paid gold. Its not about bidding against the most any other team can or will offer, its about your value as a player, as a marquee symbol and as a person.

    As for the what the future holds, as many of us predicted, 2014 is really not the year to do it. Its more like 2015 and we will still have max cap in 2015 despite Kobe’s contract. I have always said that accepting 2014 salary via trades was more feasible than spending all of your cap on mid-tier free agents. This way, the Lakers need not worry about that part. Atleast half of its projected cap goes to Kobe and perhaps not 2 10M x 4 deals to Gortat and Lowry. Could be worst.

    Pau Gasol is the next domino. Will he get his share, and if he does, how much? How much is he worth? The Hermano will be an integral part of our future, be it his new contract or his ending contract, or the number of players he will fetch via trade if ever.

  59. my first reaction when i read the news- oh crap, there goes a near-term ring chasing.

    second reaction? perfect business decision. DH leaving damaged the brand- which is worth massively more than $24MMx2-$12-18MMx2 for kobe’s latest deal.

    in this post-CBA market, do you want to be chasing FAs with a dollar that’s the same as everyone else’s a dollar? Lakers basically told the world, become part of the roster somewhere and you’ll get paid market value. become a LAKER (magic, kobe- ie, put up) and this is what is in store for you. a gift with purchase no other franchise has a track record of delivering. that’s always been the value proposition and part of the aura, along with hollywood, beaches, etc. etc. this was not a 2014-2016 window deal, but one for 2014-2036.

  60. I think the better question to ask, from my standpoint are these:
    Who will be our starting PG next year?
    Would you trade Blake, Hill and Meeks if they fetched good enough value?
    Would you consider a lesser name but younger in place of Pau Gasol?
    Do you think another alpha dog is better suited here or a Pau-ish attitude is better? aka Melo or Deng

    Its hard to predict the future, I am guilty of trying to rationalize and predict it all the same. But at the same time I know how to bask and relish in what we call the present. Enjoy Kobe while he still balls. You would understand me better in 2.5 seasons when he no longer plays.

  61. Tank season. Rest Kobe. Get Melo. Draft Wiggins. We’ll be fine.

  62. I have to agree with everyone who’s saying Loyalty. We’ve had 18 years of watching one of the best players to ever touch a basketball. Who’s arguably the most rabid competitor to ever play the game. Who’s given us 5 championships and 7 finals appearances. Who’s played through an incredible number of injuries including: the shooting finger, the facemask, wrist injuries, and his two freethrows with a torn Achilles. Who’s shown up at 6AM to take shots, and left at 11PM. Who’s sacrificed time with his family and everyone else two bring us the ultimate glory time and time again.

    We’re aren’t some two-bit franchise. We’re the Los Angeles Lakers. And we treat our legends like the legends they are: no lowballing, no games. Warren said it best: “If you bleed purple, you get paid gold.”

  63. Craig,

    All of your arguments fit into the three categories I listed above.This really isn’t complicated:

    1. Kobe will take up about 40% of the cap.
    2. As Darius points out above, having one guy–any guy–taking up that much of the cap makes it harder to build a top-level roster.
    3. We are talking about Kobe’s age-36 and age-37 seasons, when he is coming off a major injury. He has yet to play one minute in a regular season game since he went down.
    4. The Lakers do not have either a lot of draft picks or a young All-Star talent on a rookie deal to build around at below-market value and offset Kobe’s deal.
    5. The FO has told us many, many times that the key to the team’s future is “financial flexibility.”

    These five points are facts.

    As to Jayson Ray’s question–well, IMO it’s the wrong question to ask. The right ones are:

    1. Is this a good deal in terms of on-court value for money spent?
    2. Will it help the team become a champion again?
    3. Did they need to give him that much to keep him?

    As to what the Lakers are giving up, the answer is easy: financial flexibility, which helps to make trades, sign FAs, etc.

    So, based on what we can see now, it comes down to believing in Kobe, believing in the FO, and hoping for Love and/or Durant/Westbrook down the line. Check Darius’ Tweets in the sidebar. And, if unexpected opportunities to add talent come up–that out of the box stuff alluded to last week–Kobe’s deal will make it harder for the team to take advantage of them.

  64. The Lakers are saying thank you to Kobe for all he has done form them and removed his massive cap hold that would have happened at the end of the season. They believe that Kobe can be one of the max players over the next two seasons that they can build a championship contender around. The front office has now started on their plans for the next two seasons. This is a huge gamble not knowing how Kobe will look after one of the most devastating injuries one can have, a torn Achilles. I hope Kobe gives basketball fans some more memorable moments over the next 2+ seasons.

  65. rr: Great points – we are so on the same page.

    Those of us that oppose the deal don’t hate the Lakers or Kobe. For me the Kobe extension closes a path, that although would have been a bit painful initially, would have resulted in a team built for the longer haul.

    Someone above mentioned that the FO should have looked at the Net’s box scores. I did – Paul Pierce is 36 and has a PER under 13. Kevin Garnett is 37 and has a per of 10. Basketball is a young man’s game and Father Time catches up with even the best of us.

    I truly am concerned that the Lakers will make mistakes filling out the roster in an effort to win during this new 2 year window. The Lakers just kicked the can down the road – they will have to rebuild at some point. This summer was a perfect place to start – a team that won’t make the playoffs (high draft pick in a very deep draft) and financial flexibility (virtually no contracts on the books).

    This is an opportunity missed and the Lakers will regret the fact that they did not grab it.

  66. I recently found myself sitting in Newport next to Artie Morano Angel owner. I asked him why he signed Albert P for 10 years and so much knowing in his 40′s he would not earn the money? He said

    The PR to the fans, to the advertisers who pay the hang their signs on our walls(the man made billions in billboard biz) and the credibility to other players makes it money well spent.

    Moral is these guys are worth billions and i am guessing we are not so second guessing Kobe money is senseless.

  67. Love how all of a sudden the only way to win the chip is to copy the Miami collusion blue print….sorry to break it you all but WE ARE NOT wining a ring over the next few years, so just enjoy the last couple of Kobe years….and for people calling him selfish, please ….wouldn’t you calling him selfish because he didn’t do what YOU wanted him to do for YOUR satisfaction make YOU selfish..

  68. It looks to me like the Lakers are looking to trade. As many have mentioned there is not a whole lot to choose from in next year’s free agency. But the one thing the Lakers do have, are lots of expiring contracts, and for once the Lakers have guys not named Kobe who are appealing trade targets.

  69. My perspective to the Kobe contract, is that Jim feels about Kobe the way that Jim Sr. felt about Magic Johnson. Buss gave Earvin minor ownership in the Lakers when his own children were not afforded that opportunity. Moreover, we don’t know if Sr. broached this subject with Jr. before his demise.

    As many on this post have alluded to, this contract is a harbinger for the next FRANCHISE player for the Lakers. I for one am untroubled by the contract to the Mamba, as I would rather the Lakers throw money at a known commodity and Franchise-lifer, than to give money to a star to play beside a declining Kobe. Who’s to say that the Lakers give a major contract to a player and they end up playing like Howard did for the Lakers. Not everyone can handle the pressure of the brand and the klieg lights of Los Angeles.

    Lastly, Kobe maybe the Last of the Mohigans, in that due to the bargaining agreement there may never again be a franchise player that plays for one organization for the entirety of their career.

    Please stop with the comparisons of Pierce and Garnett as the mention of their names in conjunction with Kobe is nauseating. LOL!

    Senior is beaming at what Junior has done! That is all

  70. Vasheed – You mentioned that the Lakers are setting themselves up for a trade. I suppose now that the FO has ripped up the ‘moving forward with cap space blueprint’ trading our expiring contracts for a quality player on a longer deal is now a viable option.

    Like so many others I had actually looked forward to a rebuild around youth (a high draft pick) and responsible cap usage. Oh, well.

  71. Its a good deal that needed to be done. The brand has meaning and Kobe is one of the all time best. the free agents that could possibly come here are not worth forcing out a franchise icon. Get the deal done and see what happens. Any attempt to do otherwise is eliminating some stability when we most need it. Glad to see Kobe play 20 years in a Lakers uniform and how he performs the last couple of years will show that he is better than Jordan as he will have a more meaningful impact at a later age when compared to Jordan.

  72. Moral is these guys are worth billions and i am guessing we are not so second guessing Kobe money is senseless.

    Having a billion dollars doesn’t mean that a guy knows more about baseball or basketball than a dude making 50K does. Look at it this way: does Bill Gates know about the wine biz than you do? The constant appeals to authority here—trust the FO, trust ownership, trust the coaches, know your place as a fan–do have their place in the conversation. Jim Buss does in fact know many things that I can’t know. But that doesn’t mean that every single decision that he and Kupchak make is right.

    That said, Kobe is worth a ton of money to the brand, the legacy, the marketing apparatus–much more than 24M/year. But the brand IS the brand in large part because the team has WON 16 TITLES. The “Laker brand” starts with winning, and I think it is questionable whether this deal is a winning move.

  73. George Best: I respectfully disagree. I guess this is what makes talking about our Lakers so interesting – we can have different opinions.

    Would I have signed Kobe: Yes, if he could prove he could still perform at a high level. Would I sign him to this deal: No, I would have not paid him more than $12 mil – which is fair to him and still provides the franchise flexibility.

    The Lakers operate in a hard salary cap world. By giving Kobe so much of it the FO just purchased 2 more years of mediocrity. Kobe may prove me wrong and you right but I don’t think so.

  74. Contract: As happy as I am that KB is going to have at least a 20 year career, I think it is only reasonable to question the wisdom of this. I questioned it myself and came to many of the same conclusions I have in the past. However – we still have Kobe – so we should be happy about that.
    “Who are we to criticize the Lakers’ FO?” Let’s just base this on facts as rr states. We have made the Finals 31 times and won 16 championships over the course of 62 years. This is through multiple owners, coaches, and yes cap rules and CBAs. We are now in year 4 of a non-Finals drought and it appears even the FO supporters are conceding that this drought will go to at least 6 (Wow – many of us sure moved from 2014 to 2016 awful quickly). The fact that this time period will have been presided over by Jim Buss is strictly coincidental because evidently in the NBA if you win, you are a genius and if you lose it was because of bad luck. We sound like a losing gambler stumbling out of a casino.

  75. I’m not speechless about this — that never happens.

    But pretty close … I will say it’s great reading all the pro and con commentary on this site. A lot of knowledgable and passionate people participating here.

    Go Forum Blue & Gold!!

  76. Just a small observation — I find it interesting how many here have transitioned from 2014 being the big year to 2016. I wonder if that reflects the realization that 2014 was perhaps unrealistic, for whatever reason, or that a rebuild would be better with Kobe completely out of the picture, or just a simple acceptance of what some may see as an unavoidable future?

    Whoops, I see Robert beat me to the point. I love Kobe, but I also love to see the Lakers win championships. We’ll see what happens with this.

  77. Ken

    Mr. Insider Information. That was my point. Kobe is a brand the same as what the Lakers are. He puts fans in the stands and billboards up across the city. Being loyal to him to him is a no brainer. Everyone assumes he is the one who asked to be the highest paid player. What if Buss and Mitch wanted to do this and Kobe just agreed? What if we don’t win a championship? Are people still going to be Kobe and Laker fans? A resounding YES to both. Loyalty is important to the men that we want on our team. If we are loyal we WILL attract players that are loyal. D12 was not one of these men, but I bet Kevin Love will be. Even Russell Westbrook who I bet would love to be the next SUPERSTAR of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Who knows, I don’t want Melo but he decides to play for $15 million would you take him? It’s up to us to set up dream scenarios, but it’s the FO’s job to make things work. Mitch, this is on you. Make us happy.

  78. Giving Kobe all this money tells me the Lakers are going to follow the OKC model. Tank for three years and get a bunch of lottery pics that OKC turned into Westbrook, Harden, and Durant. With Kobe making so much money the Lakers won’t be able to attract star free agents since those type of players only hange teams to join other star young players and the lakers won’t have much cap space. But with two or three young potential stars on the team on rookie contracts and nobody else on the roster in three years the Lakers would be in a great position to attract a big three of their own. You would have LA the city, the Lakers the franchise, potentially two or three talented young pkayers and cap space to seduce two or three max free agents. This has to be the Lakers only play going forward. They have just announced this will be a three year rebuilding project.

  79. Aaron – Not likely what the FO was thinking when they did the extension but possibly not far from how this actually plays out. If the Buss family wants to avoid any tax penalties they won’t have much flexibility to fill out the roster.

    So what you are saying, and I’m not sure if you are serious or tongue in cheek – is that the Lakers signed Kobe to take the heat off the FO for tanking. Kobe goes for the scoring record and the team collects high draft picks. The picks, when coupled with the cap space created by Kobe’s ultimate retirement, becomes the foundation for the Laker’s next dynasty.

    I am someone that believes the new CBA won’t allow you to rebuild on the fly so hitting bottom is inevitable. If watching Kobe excel individually while the team implodes is the price to pay to rebuild a winner then so be it.

  80. When did everyone become Capologists? It seems like everyone is lumping a bunch of separate arguments all into one, and using them interchangeably.

    Did the Lakers pay Kobe more than they had to? – Yes

    Does overpaying Kobe mean that they now don’t have a realistic shot at competing for a championship?- No, why would it? The NBA Salary cap doesn’t work in the same way that the NFL “hard salary cap does.” The Lakers can spend up to 74 million without incurring the luxury tax, which leaves them with about 35 million dollars to fill their roster next season.

    Can Kobe still be the best player on a Championship team?- Why not. Dirk was the last “best player” other than LeBron, to win the Championship, and he wasn’t even the highest paid player on his own team (Jason Kidd, 20M). Before that, it was Kobe. The Idea that you need 3″ max guys” in order to win a title is a farce. It may help if you have 3 superstars, but its not necessary. If Kobe is close to how good he was last season over the next 2.5 years, than the Lakers don’t need 2 other “super stars” to compete.

    Lets give Kobe, and Mitch Kupchack credit… They have shown that they are commited to winning in the past, and especially with them knowing that Kobe’s years are limited, I think its shortsighted to assume that this contract was signed with no thought given to winning in he next 3 years.

  81. .. and how he performs the last couple of years will show that he is better than Jordan as he will have a more meaningful impact at a later age when compared to Jordan.

    Let’s not even go there. This needs to be kept in its proper perspective. I believe that there is enough vitriol within this thread without the use of the name Jordan. Lol

  82. Thank You Kobe..you proved what I have said all along…Kobe is about the money not the titles….

  83. Tim,
    That’s exactly what I am saying. This takes the heat off the FO since they won’t be able to sign free agents and rebuild the team quickly anyways. It gives them the ability to do a real long term rebuilding plan without the fan base on them.

  84. It’s sort of hilarious how many people think turning down millions of dollars is an easy thing to do.

  85. The funny thing is that Kobe could technically have asked for a 7.5% increase on his contract, but instead took 7.5% less. Greedy bastard!
    /s

  86. Those of us that oppose the deal don’t hate the Lakers or Kobe

    Indeed.

  87. Happy for Mamba. Basketball reasons aside, it’s nice to see FO demonstrate some respect and loyalty which is rare in this day and age. Hey even the aformentioned Laker Legends Baylor and West have associations with other franchises albeit post player days.

  88. The bottom line is that this was not a basketball decision. Kobe is a post up player who does not play defense. Kobe cannot play heavy minutes either since that led to his injury in the first place. He does not fit in with the offense D’Antoni has the Lakers running. If the Lakers do land a max salary free agent then they jettison any players they develop this year since they would not play for the minimum salary. Kobe is however, the face of the franchise and the cable company needs to watch its bottom line. The Lakers without Kobe do not draw enough viewers to justify the deal with the Lakers. This decision was made higher up than Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.

  89. Honestly everyone saying Kobe doesn’t deserve his money truly shouldn’t be a lakers fan. After all the sweat n blood he’s poured into this franchise he deserves more honestly. Have faith in ur team and the front office. They OBVIOUSLY have some kind of plan in place here. You guys act like they’re not aware of the same CBA and rules and I’m sure they’re more knowledgeable of it than u idiots. What two max players were coming to the lakers this offseason? Ok then. We still have some room to maneuver. Who’s to say they’re not gonna waive Steve Nash or denounce the rights to Pau. Stick with your team and support them through their decision. Especially a decision such as this one, paying Kobe the money he DESERVES. The loyalty they’ve shown to Kobe goes a LONG way and shows other players it’s more than just extracting you of all your talents. When u go as hard as Kobe has for this long there is no cap on what you give somebody who day in and day out busts their balls to put a great product on the court year after year. Have faith laker fandom. We’ve always been fine, and we will continue to be the Lakers. The greatest franchise in all of sports