Since Kobe Bryant went down in mid-April with his torn Achilles, all sorts of theories about what the Lakers should do with his contract have come about. First, he was going to be amnestied. And those talks were around long before he even went down. Considering the state of the Lakers payroll, and now the state of the Lakers roster, Kobe’s $30 million contract takes up nearly half of their bill for 2013-14. Kobe famously answered the amnesty rumors with his “Amnesty THAT” tweet.
Now, the new idea is that Kobe Bryant would accept the minimum contract next summer to help add talent. Don’t get me wrong, I expect Bryant to give the Lakers a hometown discount, but are you serious about a minimum contract? A one-year, vet minimum for Bryant would be $1.45 million. The idea is that Bryant would take a leap of faith that the Lakers would offer him a max deal the following year. It’s not unreasonable for Bryant to have that much faith in a Lakers franchise. The unreasonable aspect is that he would take the minimum offer.
Kobe Bryant has had a storied career, to say the least. He’s been the face of the Lakers franchise since the mid-90s. The Lakers would insult Bryant by offering him a minimum deal after everything he’s done for this franchise. I realize it’s the twilight of his career, and that there’s good reason for him to take a pay cut for the sake of the franchise. But to ask him to go from $30 million to $1.45 million is silly.
When Tim Duncan signed his most recent contract, his earnings went from $21.1 million in 2011-12 to $9.6 million last season, a very big pay cut. When Kevin Garnett resigned, he took a pay cut from his $21.2 million in 2011-12 to $11.5 million last year. Fans can not realistically expect Bryant, who will earn $30.4 million, to shed off just under $30 million in salary. Don’t get me wrong, Bryant will likely take a pay cut similar to those of Garnett and Duncan.
Bryant owes the Lakers franchise nothing. They took a chance on him as a 17-year old, he paid them back with five titles, tons of money in merchandise, and over a decade of relevance. Now, you want the Lakers to sign him on a $1.45 contract? Get real. Next you’re gonna tell me they’ll amnesty him.