Posted November 25, 2013

Lakers sign Kobe Bryant to two-year contract extension

Ben Golliver, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
(@Lakers)

Kobe Bryant has signed a deal to remain with the Lakers through 2016. (@Lakers)

The Lakers announced Monday that guard Kobe Bryant has signed a contract extension. The deal will pay Bryant $48.5 million over two years, according to ESPN.com and USA Today Sports.

The terms represent a pay cut for Bryant, who is the highest paid player in the NBA this season at $30.5 million, but he will remain at the very top of the league’s player salaries lists. His reported $23.5 million salary in 2014-15 and $25 million salary in 2015-16 are currently league-leading, narrowly topping Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire and Nets guard Joe Johnson.

“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “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. 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.”

The extension will run until just a few weeks before Bryant’s 38th birthday. He has referred to this stage of his career as his “last chapter” and this deal could well carry him into retirement.

“Laker for life,” Bryant wrote on Twitter.

Both sides had indicated in recent months that they wanted to continue their marriage, and this agreement sets a direction for a franchise that has been floundering in the wake of Dwight Howard’s departure and Bryant’s ongoing rehabilitation from a torn Achilles. That the Lakers did this deal so quickly suggests that the franchise isn’t yet ready to imagine life without its face, and the Lakers now remain “Kobe’s Team” for better and worse.

By agreeing to the deal early, the Lakers trade total salary cap flexibility next summer for the certainty of keeping their biggest star happy and in town. Hopes that Bryant would take a heavy hometown discount to help facilitate a roster reconstruction clearly did not come to fruition, a fact that could wind up standing between Bryant and his sixth title. 

With their cupboards bare, the Lakers now have their hands full trying to construct a contender after giving roughly 40 percent of their salary cap to one player. As it stands, Bryant will join guard Steve Nash ($9.7 million) as the only contracts on L.A.’s books that aren’t minimum deals or rookie contracts. The Lakers should enter the 2014  free agency period with at least $20 million in salary cap space to chase a max-level player or fill out the rest of roster as they see fit. The Lakers could gain additional flexibility if Nash decided to retire for medical reasons, something he said recently he won’t do, but the size of Bryant’s contract will influence everything the Lakers do between now and its expiration.

From Bryant’s perspective, there wasn’t much to think about when it came to evaluating the terms of this contract. Financially speaking, this deal is a coup for a player of Bryant’s age who is still rehabilitating from a serious injury. Additionally, he keeps his franchise legend status, he has a clear path towards retirement, and he gets serious short-term peace of mind when it comes to his Achilles. He is now able to return this season without worrying about how his play — or another injury — might impact his value in free agency. He also gets to avoid the daily questions, rumors and discussions about his future that were sure to pick up as July inched close.

Bryant, 35, ranked No. 4 on SI.com’s “Fortunate 50″ list of the highest-paid professional athletes back in May. He was No. 2 among NBA players, trailing only Heat forward LeBron James, with an estimated annual take of $46.9 million, which included $19 million in outside endorsements. Bryant also ranked No. 3 on the NBA’s global jersey sales for the 2012-13 season, trailing James and Bulls guard Derrick Rose.

The 15-time All-Star has career earnings of $279 million, including this season, and his new deal will push that figure to $327 million. He is out indefinitely after tearing his Achilles back in April but he returned to practice with the Lakers last week. The five-time champion needs just 676 points to move past Michael Jordan for the No. 3 spot on the all-time scoring list. He averaged 27.3 points, 6 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game last season.

86 comments
Balista
Balista

it ain't that bad... Gilbert Arenas gets the same amount of money this year, & he's not even playing

jwanderaas
jwanderaas

Craziness.  I just read a good article http://www.infobarrel.com/Kobe_Bryants_2_Year_Extension_Good_or_Bad_for_Lakers that compares the Kobe situation to Peyton Manning.  In Mannings situation the Colts let him go to bring in the next era of talent.  I don't know it's hard to say. Kobe is an all time great player and Laker.  It's the right thing for him to finish at LA but you got to be thinking about the future too.

recalcitrant1
recalcitrant1

It's beyond a shadow of doubt now. Jim Buss is a piece of sh*t owner and Mitch has no balls or common sense. 

Once again the Lakers management rush into a deal (like d'Antoni) that could have been made at any time. No matter from what angle you look at it, this is a lose-lose for everyone, except Kobe's and his agent's bank accounts. 

Once again, what the f was the big rush?!

Once again, Laker management looks as if it has NO plans for the future as they make one impulsive decision after another that make no sense, are destroying this franchise, and are undermining the fan base .

Kobe looks like a greedy pig who is being paid twice! what his market value is. 

Laker fans are virtually guaranteed to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs for the next 3 years, and there is nothing worse than being in the middle in the NBA. You are better off being at the bottom where you have an opportunity to build through the draft.

Thanks Laker management for letting us fans know that Kobe's "legacy" is more important to you than your fans' hopes of getting back on top.

Inept ownership and management has turned a once proud and competent organization into a circus of mediocrity.

I wouldn't be surprised if they follow this up by signing Carmello and re-signing Pau, which would be two more stupid moves but what I am learning to expect from this owner. At least by signing Melo they'd have to get rid of d'Antoni, but I have lost faith in Laker management.

Jim, for the sake of your father's legacy, give the team to your sister. PLEASE!!!!

playemball
playemball

Any honest Laker fans out there that thinks this was a dumb deal?

Boogieman1281
Boogieman1281

have no problem with someone making that kind of money, as long as they admit it's about the money. Don't insult people's intelligence by saying you just want to win while simultaneously putting a significant dent in the team's cap room.

Robert27
Robert27

Laughable. Enjoy life in the middle, L.A.

playemball
playemball

Congrats Laker fans..you now don't stand a chance! 

aman19258
aman19258

hello,


Peace of mind is a challenge. I think like happiness, peace of mind is not something that is stagnant,

OK
OK

Da Alleged Rapist gets more money for his legal team.

Blondes Beware.

Slatlantican
Slatlantican

A classier guy at this stage of his career would've taken less. He'll, if he really cared about winning, he could afford to play two years at the league minimum.

DirtyPantiesLover1
DirtyPantiesLover1

sign vanessa bryant for the remaining 20 million. let her dance during halftime to earn her keep. 

EnashWaca
EnashWaca

Nice to see a guy take one for the team.............NOT

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

Here's all you need to know to put this move in the proper perspective:


During his last 2 seasons in CHI (96-97 & 97-98), MJ made $30MM & $33MM per year -- I'm pretty highest in the league back then.  The HUGE difference is that the Bulls had the best record in the league & won the chip (the last 2 of a 3-peat) each of those years!!!


I thought Faker Nation was all @ chips...

DougFuller
DougFuller

I need LOveee. Hope we get him, there is a ton of guys up 2015,, that will be the best and maybe last shot at ring 6. Oh yeah, next lakers fan says we need to go after Chris Bosh gets booed

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

Kobe would've gotten this kind of money elsewhere.  It wouldn't have been a contender, but someone looking to sell tickets would've signed Kobe, especially if Kobe felt disrespected by the Lakers for trying to low-ball him.  There's no way in hell LeBron would have signed with the Lakers, and Carmello isn't the kind of player the Laker would bring in to take the torch from Kobe.  I think the Lakers  continue to tread water next season as well, then try to sign Kevin Love, who will be a FA in 2015.  I've also heard many messageboard musings about bringing Westbook back home to LA, but I'm not sure how the mechanics of that deal would play out or if it would even work.  Mitch Kupchak has done more than enough to merit patience and faith that there is a bigger plan. 

The Lakers will be average at best for the next two seasons, but I've been blessed to have experienced 10 titles in my 33 years of life, so Lakers fans need to keep it in perspective.  The Lakers aren't the Bulls who had only an 8-year span of greatness, or even the Celtics who disappeared for 20 years between 1989 and 2008.  The Lakers are down now, and it's time for the NBA to kick them while they can, but as history has proven time and time again, the Lakers will be back.

DougFuller
DougFuller

It's like this. Kobe already told us that he was going to get as much as he could, but he actually accepted less then he could of got..Pau is making 21 million this year guys, THAT is overpaid. Before you say that he isn't worth the money think about it. Who else would you pay 25 million to play next year besides labron and carmelo? Who?? We did what we had to. 1st of all he was crazy good last year as always,, even if his numbers drop to say 23 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists (yeah his assists will go up!) Those are still very good stats boys. Combine that with his leadership and fan appeal it makes total sense. Mark my words Kobe is a scorer...anybody who thinks his scoring is going to drop WAY off is WAY wrong*

inthepresent
inthepresent

yowza. i like kobe, but that is a shipload of money for where he's up to in his career. good luck to him. 


EduarCabrera
EduarCabrera

He should have given the Lakers a home discount to show his true value!

jackgorfin
jackgorfin

I love Kobe and appreciate all he has done for the Lakers but this signing is a total joke, who were they competing against?  who else would have paid him 24 million a year?  another stupid move by jimmy buss on his way to destroying the franchise

Lohikaarme
Lohikaarme

To the Lakers' front office:

You guys are doing a great job. Keep up the good work.


--- The rest of the NBA Western Conference GMs

6marK6
6marK6

The Lakers had the opportunity last year to trade off Nash, Gasol, Howard, etc... Sign some good young players, not resign Kobe, bring in some good free agents that don't break the bank and be competitive again in a few years. But the management was frightened that the Hollywood movie stars would not see Lakers games as fashionable anymore. So they guarantee they have a non-playoff team for a few more years and then start the rebuilding process in three years. There is no organization there anymore, just bad public relations. If the Knicks were stupid enough to pay more, let him go! Dump that salary!

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@playemball He was a part of 5 title winning teams since he joined the Lakers, his new contract leaves the Lakers room to sign a max contract player. Lakers have bad seasons like every other team, but never set up shop in the cellar like a lot of bottom dwelling NBA franchises. You are the weakest link!! GOODBYE!!

rocknitout
rocknitout

@Slatlantican Would you care more about winning than earning about 20mil this year if you had the option? It's always funny when players are criticized for taking money. This isn't chump change here - I'd take it too if I could. And there's nothing wrong with it! If the Lakers didn't want to pay him to keep him, they wouldn't have had to.

rh2000
rh2000

@Slatlantican  When has Kobe ever been classy?  He is scum!  But popular so it is what it is

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

@airmjbsanders What Jordan made and how well those Bulls teams did in 1997 and 1998 are neither here nor there.  There's enough not to like about this contract in 2013 and the circumstances around the current CBA that you don't need to be intellectually lazy and invoke Michael Jordan as some kind of NBA Godwin Rule.  

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

@The_Sports_Dude I think the smog has dulled your reasoning.  Kobe would NOT have gotten $24M elsewhere.  35 yrs old, achilles surgery, personality that shows no evidence of being able to gracefully transition to non-alpha dog role.  Who exactly wants a player like that?  I'm fine w/ LAL keeping him, and even at a big salary ($15M), but this deal is the reason your team will be mediocre for the next 2 yrs.

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

@DougFuller I'm sure his scoring won't drop.  But I am equally sure he's going to be jacking up lots of long 2 pointers.  Are his stats what matter, or wins?

DanaBunner
DanaBunner

@DougFuller You are talking about the 37 and 38 year old Kobe?  Who else would I rather have if I had to pay $25M.  Several guys.   I would much rather have Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, probably Harden or Westbrook.  Others.  Kobe is on the downside, no longer worth this kind of money.

rocknitout
rocknitout

@EduarCabrera Why? Would you take a discount with your employer to show your value? Didn't think so. You'd take what they'll offer you - especially if it were 25mil this year.

inthepresent
inthepresent

@6marK6 

but they are a business and they are pretty damn successful. i think they made the wrong move basketball-wise, but it makes sense $-wise. 

playemball
playemball

@Voiceover310 @playemball You Sir are living in the past..most LA fans know Kobe is not the once "young" and talented player he was..a good player..yes, but will definitely come down with another injury quickly!  So you Sir do not know basketball..and you are the weakest link yourself..GOODBYE!!

OK
OK

@Voiceover310

And you're a fool if you allow any female you know to be around Da Alleged Rapist.

Robert27
Robert27

@rocknitout @Slatlantican He'll have made approx. $280M after this deal is up. You really think he needed $25M per? Tim Duncan's playing for $11M so S.A. could have cap flexibility and sign other players. Garnett took a lot less to re-sign w/ Boston for the same reason. Tom freakin' Brady extended this off season for 3 years and $27M when he could've easily have taken home twice that.

Like I said earlier, enjoy the middle, L.A. You won't be reaching the Conference Finals anytime soon.

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

@rocknitout "would you care more about winning..."  We're not talking about the rest of us, we're talking about Kobe.  A guy that wears the "I hate to lose" attitude on his sleeve every night, but then scuttles his team's chances of rebuilding rapidly around him in his twilight years.  A guy who has already made more money than almost anyone alive.  

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

@The_Sports_Dude I feel your pain, dude!  Unfortunately, now Flaker fans are gonna have to get used to what Knicks fans have been dealin w/ for over 10 years!


Long live Dr. Buss...