Kobe Extension A Good Day For Lakers … And The Rest Of The League


VIDEO: The Beat crew discusses Kobe Bryant’s contract extension

HANG TIME WEST – The Lakers revealed Monday they committed a reported $48.5 million over two years to a 35-year-old who was in physical decline even before a serious injury, who said last season he was leaning toward retiring after 2013-14 and who has yet to play this season to deliver a progress report in the return from a torn Achilles’ tendon.

“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” began a statement from general manager Mitch Kupchak.

And it is. That’s swallow-hard money under the circumstances even for a franchise surfing waves of cash from its local cable TV deal, but there is no other way for Kobe Bryant to go out, whenever it happens, other than as a Laker. He wanted to be there rather than window shop as a free agent in 2014, they wanted him there. Medical uncertainties and all, he remains extraordinarily popular with L.A. fans, and so it was only a matter of time before the sides signed an extension. The only question was how long and how much.

When it turned out to be two seasons and a reported $48.5 million, it was a pretty good day for the rest of the league, too. Bryant off the free-agent market is not a big deal since he was never leaving anyway. Watching L.A.’s salary cap take on two seasons when the Lakers may (understandably) have preferred to wait until after 2013-14 to see how Kobe does in his yet-to-begin comeback is a win for opponents. So, too, is him signing at a reported $23.5 million and $25 million per season, a pay cut from what he makes now and could have demanded yet hardly a serious pay cut, is also a win for opponents.

Plus there is the intangible of Bryant signing on through 2015-16 – this season and the two under the extension – months before he will try to recruit superstar free agents to Los Angeles. He can tell someone the Lakers will be their team, that he, Kobe, will take a step back, but it’s hard to imagine anyone really believing it. It was probably a coin toss they would have in the first place, knowing his mentality, but Monday made it official: The Alpha Dog isn’t going anywhere for a long time, health willing, and therefore neither is his personality.

That’s a good thing for the Lakers past and present, because the demanding attitude has been integral in championships and the current determination to fight through tough times. But it doesn’t make other superstars feel entirely welcome if they are looking to jump somewhere with the guarantee of having the biggest spotlight.

(Bryant made the same public promise a season ago to turn the Lakers over to Dwight Howard. Whether Howard ever believed him is not known – there were so many problems in the relationship between team and player that Howard could have believed Bryant and still been plotting his escape all along.)

The Lakers will still have the lure of Los Angeles and serious spending power in the next free-agent gluttony – capologist Larry Coon has his typically excellent breakdown — but July 2014 will be about more than money and location. A lot of superstars want to know they will be The Man.

That all of this is without knowing what kind of shape Bryant will be increases the complications. Giving his career a 10-count last April, when the Achilles’ went snap, was always a mistake. But all that is actually known about his health is that he has been practicing with the Lakers and is scheduled to be with them when a three-game trip opens Tuesday in Washington. Coach Mike D’Antoni has ruled Bryant out against the Wizards, and that’s where the definitive statements end. Maybe he’ll play Wednesday at Brooklyn or Friday at Detroit. Or maybe not.

Management is clearly confident Bryant will return at the same level of his personally successful 2012-13 or needs Kobe’s presence in place for marketing purposes the next two-plus seasons when almost everything around them is an unknown. Either way, they had their happy day on Monday.

“We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens,” Kupchak’s statement continued. “To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”


VIDEO: Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell tackles Twitter questions about the Lakers & Kobe

59 Comments

  1. Gamas says:

    For those who are saying 48 millions were too much, and the next season will miss great deals, you should take a look at Trailblazers this year, they have only one big star (if he was a big star the past seasons) Lamarcus Aldrige, and they are one of the top 3 teams in the nba. Lakers will have KB and also the have the experience of Steve Nash and Paul Gasol, also have some young talent like Hill, they only need to get rid of DAntoni and get a new coach who can handle this talent and makes them play like a team exploting individual skills.

  2. Cripple Rapist says:

    @sid YEP DWADE still a SUPERSTAR… even with a banged knee he can still produce and defend…. He’s still the CAPT. of MIAMI HEAT…. Still better than most SG in NBA…. wait until playoffs… I guess your team ain’t playing on that time… are you a bulls fan??? or knicks perhaps??? whatever… DWADE still a Champion… you can never change the fact that they are the DEFENDING CHAMPION….

  3. Ballin for life says:

    Heck yeah, the lakers are set for another championship this year! cant wait to see them lift the banner

  4. fluke says:

    the fact is bryant will stay and retire as a lakers!! whether that contract is too much or not!! again guys we will lure another all star in 2014 and 2015 just relax and watch the game OK!!! XD

  5. mike says:

    before reading through this, i actually thought that 48.5 million is just too much…
    kobe will not leave LA, they could have bargain just a little bit more….
    and now i am thinking like.
    hey, if Lakers dont have problem spending that much money then their is nothing wrong with it :)…

  6. Ahmed aziz says:

    instead of fighting over whose better or worse just watch your idol play <3 and enjoy the game :D
    #kobe`s fan

  7. SPOR says:

    another big name free agent or not another championship team or even a playoff team or not, the deal makes a lot of sense business wise.. kobe is a marketing gem, anything he does, wether liked hated or criticized brings in buzz(money) to the Lakers organization, he is huge in the u.s. and even china… just look at the lakers without kobe, they do not have the spotlight for a significant time. but with kobe around win or loss they will always be talked about there will always be people liking or hating the lakers and just being indifferent with the organization.

  8. muho says:

    everyone is saying that lakers is done. they can not rebuilt like this and kobe dont deserve that kind of money. well they are wrong.just because someone is at the end of his carier doesnt mean he can not produce big. well kobe was producing very big last year he was still the top five player in nba affecting a team better and if he comes back which he will he is still gonna be a very very good player. people say lakers cannot lure big names after this well they are wrong too. look at the contracts of other players almost all are expiring so they can add good pieces around him. and people say that no one gonna come to lakers because of the kobe’s personality why ? if any big name come to lakers he can learn from kobe and can be the man after he is gone and get a ring or two in the process. so people think and read before commenting. lakers are going to be big if not this season the next season if they can add the right pieces. a good coach (because offense doesnt win championships) and a superstar (a big man just because of the inside outside balance) just wait and see.

  9. KoBE4life says:

    Some of you must not know how the Lakers won those Champiionships. I myself is a die hard Kobe fan and a everlasting Pistons fan. The lakers have never won a championship being under the salary cap, they have always , ALWAYS paid a luxury tax, and now that the new CBA make it more taxing, doesnt mean they arent willing to pay the taxes. They are not willing to pay the taxes on a team in which they know are probably 7 th or 8th seed at best, but to bring another super star in like MELO they would most certainly due. Remember this MELO is the same caliber personality wise as KOBE. He was always the best player on the Olympic teams, when he played with Iverson he flourished, but to be able to play with someone who is a winner, most definitely he will do it and so will the lakers. Kobe is Carmelo’s Dwade. D Wade taught Lebron how to win. Kobe will teach Melo how to win.

    I can see a possible line up of Blake, Bryant, Anthony, Greg Monroe, and Pau Gasol…..

  10. theking0522 says:

    As I person who hates the Lakers, I think they should actually have given him $40 million per year. Heck…I think he deserves 75% of the team salary by himself. Again, as a Laker hater I love it….It should have been more. the more he gets, the less likely they will sign another big name.

  11. Chris says:

    Don’t blame Kobe!
    As if anybody in the world would take less money, if he could get 48,5 million $…
    Oh wait… Dirk will :)

  12. greg says:

    If 48.5 million is the price to make sure arguably the greatest Laker of all-time retires a Laker, then as a Lakers fan, I’m delighted.

    Given the doubts surrounding our hopes of a championship this year, all I really wanted was to see the franchise commit to Kobe the same he has done for the franchise.

    Money and opportunities to sign free agents will come and go, but we’ll only get one chance to make the most out of Mr. Bryant while he’s still in the NBA.

    I’m just happy to 1.) see the Lakers having fun this year post-Dwight ‘Diva’ Howard; and 2.) know that Kobe Bryant – the man who’s given his life to the franchise – is staying with us for at least another 2 years.

  13. Mitch says:

    I don’t get why you people all confused with the deal. The organization thinks most about maintaining image and making money. KB sitting at the bench every night alone probably generates more value than an entire Raptors team with no stars. Stop just thinking about winning championships and saving money for contingent free agent plan for NEXT year. Championship is always great for the organization, but there’s no guarantee to get one, no matter what the team does. But KB being a Laker brings the organization lots of cash for sure. And Laker fans ADORE KB. It’s their culture. It’s their mentality. KB is the Lakers. Management basically HAS to pay KB to stay.

  14. Adam says:

    @Joshua Greenfarb: I actually pity your comment because it only means your out of touch with reality. The Clippers? you’re kidding me, the Clippers? Fox to cover the Clippers? The sad truth to a hater and bandwagoner like you is that Lakers fans still watch the game no matter who’s in the team. We may have a couple of low seasons every now and then but we’re sure soon we’re going to bounce back and be a competitor again. But we’res till fans of the team no matter what so accept that truth. The Clippers? the last time I heard they wanted the championship banners covered because NONE of it are theirs, initiated by a coach who is so proud to have won, ONE ring as a coach, his second chance defeated by the Lakers. He is insulting the hardwork that players and coaches did as symbolized by the banners. The reason why Fox still, covers the Lakers? because it’s the Lakers and we, the fans, will be here no matter how you hate us. And the Clippers will still be the the second LA team that never won a crown. Ever.

  15. Adam says:

    And I’m pretty sure the Lerbon lover moderators will delete my post.

  16. Adam says:

    He deserves it because real superstars don’t switch teams. Real superstars get the money they’re worth. Real superstars don’t lower their price so that their team can get even more superstars to HELP win an NBA ring. Get that Lebron? You took the short cut Queen.

  17. derrickrosefan says:

    LOL HOW ARE THEY GOING TO PAY FOR THOSE SUPERSTARS LIKE LBJ AND WADE IF THEY GAVE THE MONEY TO KOBE!!! XD

    • Jason says:

      They’ll have plenty left, last year they owed about 80 mill to their starters alone. So 23 for Kobe isn’t too hefty, easily room for another top FA and even a second but I doubt two will happen. You gotta use your brain bud, simple math. Have fun without Rose.

    • sid says:

      lol – Wade is a superstar? Interesting – seems like I missed that. Something like Magic, Bird, Kareem, Wilt, West, Jordan …? Realy – Wade? Ah ha – thanks for the information! lol

  18. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Someone explain how the Lakers are “surfing” in cash with their current local TV station deal?

    What kind of ratings does that second-rate station get?

    Wouldn’t it have been more lucrative to stay with FOX Sports (a reputable region-wide cable station)?

    If it’s true, then Time Warner is losing way too much with their current deal with the LA Fakers. Just like how the Lakers are losing way too much with their current deal with K. Bryant. But karma will all balance out in due time. :-)

    I believe FOX Sports gets way higher TV ratings than some low-end Time Warner station. Clippers are smart to stay with FOX Sports, being the elite team in L.A.

    So apparently, FOX Sports didn’t think the Lakers were worthy enough to be broadcast anymore. Smart move. Stay with a good team like the Clippers. NOBODY watches the Lakers anymore. :-)

  19. jmk says:

    I think is not only about playing the game and loyalty, I think the Lakers make a lot of money by having him playing, it is an investment. A long term one actually, he will stick with them after retirement.

  20. Matt says:

    You people are way too negative. First off, this guarantees Kobe will retire a Laker. Much better to see him stay than go elsewhere. For the record, he did take a bit of a pay cut. Lakers are still around .500, if Kobe is near last year’s production, they should contend for the playoffs. As far as next year, they still have a bit of money to spend. Personally, I think they’re in pretty good shape, especially considering everyone’s been writing them off as a lousy team. The Clippers are my favorite team, so I would love to see them win the division, but would love to see the Lakers be competitive too. Kobe’s done very well for the Lakers franchise, certainly one of the best of this era, up there with Lebron.

  21. mr.Macphisto says:

    Good deal as for keeping Kobe in the Lakers uniform.But 48.5 mil. for a 35 year old guard with a sever foot injury!?!?Even if he’s called Kobe Bryant I don’t buy it…

  22. Eaglos says:

    They gave him all that money hoping that Kobe as a product will return
    more money back to them.

  23. Gillsy says:

    You are right definitely Jordan Hill is a keeper along with Henry who is playing pretty well. It will be interesting to see what they do with Pau. Cause a strait up trade for Anthony would be interesting.

  24. Karlo Garcia says:

    Im happy for KB24 about his contract. To play for one team in his entire career is IMPRESSIVE. I think it benefits Kobe & Lakers in terms of stability.

  25. jonski22 says:

    What do you want the Lakers do? retire Kobe? trade Kobe? They are not Celtics, when they trade PP to the Nets, That trade degrades PPierce legacy. He is one of those players that should be “for life”. Kobe will be a Lakers for life. They may not win championship, but they are credible. They take care of the players that won them championship. Shaq is different subject. And you dont worry about the Lakers, every players want to be there, so attracting superstar is easy.

  26. Kobe Fan says:

    And by the way..he is not alone without a superstar. Pau for one..and the evolution of Henry X and Jordan H , Nick Y and Jody M. Heck..the whole bench has been playing amazing basketball. If we continue to do that..anything is possible and likely to happen this year. The Lakers will be just fine. Contrary to what you LBJ fans say. You just want Kobe to fail cause it justifies your love affair with Lebron. Sorry to spoil your party. The hardest working player in the NBA is back and mark my words, he will win another title maybe two.

  27. d roi says:

    all those comment regarding how big his salary is,,you are all idiot…do you think Lakers will make profit if kobe is in another team. They are paying this much because Kobe’s charisma in the market is undeniable…period

    • Loki says:

      You don’t know the definition of idiot throwing it around like that. Just because people disagree does not make them idiots. Some people have legitimate concerns regarding the TEAM they love. Some of us have liked the lakers since before Kobe was even a thought and while I’m happy to see him stay on considering what he’s done for not only the franchise but for LA I don’t think the salary was necessary. Even Kobe himself said he was surprised as there were no negotiations, they just handed him the contract, tells me Kobe would’ve taken even less had they bothered to ask

  28. Kobe Fan says:

    Some of you questioning why Kobe took the contract and not take a paycut..umm..he did..about 6 Mil per year! He is still top 5 in NBA today and the hardest worker on and off the court. If anyone deserves a decent contract..it’s him. So all you pretend fans of the Lakers that say it was stupid move, either you are not real Laker fans just stooges or you have no idea what you are talking about. Look at his stats last year. Enough said.

  29. Manny says:

    20-years, $3 billion from cable alone. Add to that the merchandise–domestic and international (they’ve erected statues in China), he remains a draw at home and on the road and you realize this was a smart move for the Lakers and one Kobe has definitely earned.

    Why should he take a pay cut? Are the Lakers taking a pay cut? Have they lowered ticket prices because the team is currently an 11th seed? Did they announce that since they lost out on Dwight and Kobe won’t be available for part of the season we’re gonna give you loyal fans a discount on tickets and your cable bill. It makes no economic sense to ask Kobe to take a steeper cut. He’s earned it and he should be rewarded.

    Any smart superstar (sorry Dwight) will see how the Lakers reward winning and loyalty and will gladly sign on. If they can’t deal with Kobe for a couple of years then they’re not mentally strong enough to lead the Lakers when he’s gone (again Sorry Dwight).

  30. SugaSugamakesnosense says:

    All LA needs (after Kobe gets his legs back) is to see a strong evolution of Xavier Henry’s game and Jordan Hill’s game. By that I mean they both need to be enforcers on the defensive end, and threats on the offensive end. A healthy, 2nd option big man, who compliments Pau (rather than hinders him) would be a great addition too.

    And obviously it’d be nice to see Steve Nash take Jordan Farmar’s young body during the playoffs lol.

  31. pepe says:

    doesnt matter free agent. priority is to sign a legend!
    a leave the Lakers as a Lakers fan, when kobe move to another team!

  32. Dimas says:

    Great news…now the lakers are really done for. no hope for rebuilding. bye bye lakers..

  33. Loki says:

    As glad as I am to see Kobe retire with the team he helped keep successful I question the contract. Kobe or no Kobe that’s just too big to pickup a good free agent and bench depth.

    I get the feeling the lakers just threw whatever number together out of fear of losing Kobe and handed him the contract. Does Kobe really need 48million this deep into his career? Lol

  34. nbafan says:

    This is what i don’t get: the Lakers are clearly in rebuild mode and need to save up to get good people in the offseason and what do they do? Splash the cash on Kobe. I’m not saying he’s not a good player and that he doesn’t deserve the money, but that was a stupid decision. Kobe’s made his millions already, if he wants to retire as a Laker and get another ring then he should have taken a bigger paycut. That would have made headlines and show that he is truly committed to rebuild and help the organization, instead it just shows that he’s a bit selfish and doesn’t look at the long-term, or even medium-term picture. He alone won’t get another ring.

  35. Lakers Fan says:

    They must be out of their minds when they did this. This is a suicide, imagine how can you afford a top free agent with this move? I’m deeply disappointed with Kobe too as he earned enough dough and the least he could do is to give something back to the organization and to the fans. Bad move, Kupchak and Buss!!!!!!!!

  36. Gillsy says:

    Even though I think it is too much money for someone at the stage of his career and coming off such as serious injury. good on him, it was exactly what Kobe said he was going to do. he said he wanted to play for two more years and was not going to play for a pensioner discount rate. The goo d news is that obviously for the Lakers to go this early on him someone thinks his ankle is ok. He has taken a 6 million a year or so cut. But at the end of the day they will do the normal Laker thing. Spend big to help him out, yea their is the luxury tax. But two things Kobe will bring in more money, was it last week the Lakers didn’t sell out a home game for the first time in years. While second is that nice big income cheque from the TV rights. Happy days. Kobe just please don’t do a KG or Nash and play a season too many.

  37. okc2014 says:

    I’m not a Laker fan, so I just find this amusing…Maybe Kobe and the Laker powers that be have a secret we know nothing about. Who cares?

  38. pablote says:

    wow. jerry buss is gone and his redneck (look at his teeth!) son is floundering with all the major decisions…. hindsight certainly IS 20/20, and we all make mistakes, but that was a mess what he did with Phil Jackson last season. yeah, I’m happy Dwight is gone too (what a puss!) but he WOULD still be here if Phil became the coach. and we KNOW Phil could have handled those two personalities and stroked Dwight into giving more than Lakers got out of him last year….. buffoon city all the way around…. Jeanne buss may have been a better selection to handle the team’s affairs than jim is, for certain….

    • Name (required) says:

      I absolutely agree with you, the biggest concern in Lakerland is not how Kobe will perform (if eventually he really does), is if Junior is going to make a good decision (or at least not a very bad one) someday regarding the team. IMO (and I guess most would argue the same) Jane is the one that inherited Mr.Buss skills, knowledge and common sense. Junior should step aside and stop hurting one of the greatest organizations in sports history. This is too large for him as all we have seen.

    • Listen here says:

      we love phil, but he’s old and very sick and just needs to hang it up… it was no one’s fault that he’s gone. do you want him to coach until he dies? and Kobe gets a huge contract because that’s what you call respect. he was born in Philly… moved to europe… but there is no doubt that he is LA’s son. That’s how you treat the guy that has lead your team to the playoffs every year and bring home 5 championships… respect is something that should never be lost… that’s how we keep basketball from being “just another business”.

  39. Stupid Fan says:

    I don’t have the grey matter for all them details, or the foresight of what might happen in the future out of the possible megajillion scenarios. I am just glad to know that I will get to see Kobe for another three seasons … in the ‘Forum Blue’.

    Oh’, what was that Kennedy once said about ‘one in the hand’ as opposed to the ‘two in the bush’ ? Or was it Jefferson ???

  40. James says:

    WHAT A JOKE! Kobe you selfish pig

    • Victor says:

      Don’t blame Kobe.. Blame Jim Buss..

      • kek says:

        haha and you dont think that it wasnt kobes agent and himself that negotiated that deal? I thought that sacrifise was something you need to do to win a championship, seems like kobe wasnt willing to sacrifise a whole lot to win tho, Its probaly all about the milestones from now and until he retires, Lakers will never win a ring with kobe again,

        Not a hater just being realistic.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

      • nick says:

        bahahahahahhahaahahaaaa. Highest paid in the NBA at 35 more than Le Bron, more than KD, more than Dwight, more than Harden, Westbrook……the list goes on and on. Kobe deserves every penny and has worked and earned every penny! Will watch every game.

  41. Greg says:

    check Kobe’ stats last year – still one of the best playing the game. took the team to the playoffs almost by himself (we all saw how they played with D12 as the main man….sorry but NO, thanks for not staying).
    The best playier of the league, Lebron, has agreed to share with 2 other all stars. Why would a top free agent think he could do it on his own without Kobe? come on Mitch, get KB24 a top player (no Melo) + a coach + a couple of good teammates, keep 2-3 guys from today and get him this 6th Ring!

  42. AJ Nair says:

    I though Kobe would take some paycut in search of 6th ring. I thought he would get a 3 yr 48 mil offer. As much as I am happy to see Kobe play another 2 years, I feel sory for him if he can’t lure a top free agent to Lakerland. He needs anothere super star to get that 6th ring. I also wish Lakers resign Pau next year.

  43. sleeplessbull says:

    come on? for real? thats way too much money… how are you going to sign another top free agent when you give all the money to Kobe?!?1

    • No way says:

      I totally agree – Lakers really do not want to win !

    • Lakers' fanboy says:

      Lakers being the richest in NBA, they dont need luck all they need is superstars. Money was never a problem cuz we are the purple and GOLD.

    • Listen here says:

      because that’s how you treat the guy that gave your city 5 championships… it’s mutual respect between kobe and the organization

    • LAKERS 4EVA!! says:

      people have this misconception that because there is a salary cap in place, teams must stay under it. The Lakers can and probably will spend whatever is necessary to add another top free agent or 2. It will cost a fair bit, with the repeater tax and all, but with a Billion dollar TV deal, a big market, endorsement revenue, they will cop it and hope to raise another banner.

      • Common Sense says:

        SERIOUSLY! Nets are at about 100 million with a 58 Million salary Cap. Heat are at about 80 million. The only question is who wants to play with Kobe. As long as they can find people that want to win bad enough to play with Kobe, Lakers will get another ring. But Lakers last pick was Dwight and they should have known that a Diva like that would blow up in their face