The Impact of Kobe’s Extension

As all Laker fans surely know by now, Kobe Bryant has agreed to a 2-year contract extension, in the neighborhood for $48 million over that time period. What kind of impact does this have on the Lakers going forward?

- Jim Buss should be applauded. As much as Lakers fans like to downplay his accomplishments and question his ability, he stuck to his promise of not letting Kobe hit free agency. Kobe will still be the highest payed player in the NBA until this deal runs out, at which point retirement seems likely. People may say they offered Kobe too much money, but imagine the disaster it would be if they had been unable to re-sign Kobe.

- That massive amount of cap space the Lakers had been salivating over? Mostly gone. The team still does have enough money to sign one max contract player, but that would essentially fill the entire salary cap. Don’t be surprised if the Lakers target multiple lower level pieces instead of a top dog this offseason. Keep in mind with Steve Nash on the books for $9 million next season, that will be a sizable chunk of cap space for the next offseason.

Oct 8, 2013; Ontario, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Lakers defeated the Nuggest 90-88. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

- It says a lot about Kobe’s health. The front office wouldn’t have inked this extension until they had seen him play unless they were completely confident in his return. Kobe is a relentless worker and I’m sure this played a part in the front office’s decision to extend him now.

- He took a significant pay cut (about $5 million) while still being paid for everything he means to this franchise. As much as people like to equate Kobe to Tim Duncan, hoping he would take a similar pay cut, it is a completely different situation. Duncan has been playing reduced minutes and games for years, while Kobe has arguably played too much. Kobe is also the face of perhaps the greatest franchise in the NBA. His off the court value trumps Duncan’s tenfold, hence the salary. As much as a basketball decision as this was, it was equally a business decision.

- The only two other Lakers under contract next year are Robert Sacre and Steve Nash. As ESPN salary cap expert, Larry Coon has noted the Lakers could possibly use the stretch provision on Nash, spreading the cap hit over multiple seasons at a lower amount while waiving Nash. It will be interesting to see what happens with Nash moving forward. Although he has stated he doesn’t intend to retire, his body can only take so much.

- Kobe Bryant will have an opportunity to set the record of most consecutive seasons with the same franchise. Currently, John Stockton holds the record of 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz. If Kobe plays out his two-year extension, he will hit 20 seasons with the Lakers. Just another record for Kobe to hold onto.

- Overall this is a fair deal, although I’m sure many Lakers fans were hoping Kobe might take a larger pay cut. The pipe dream of Kobe taking a minimum salary in an attempt to create the most stacked team possible was never going to happen. He deserves the money he is being paid and keeping him the highest payed player surely was something the Lakers offered to honor Kobe. This is a deal everyone should be happy with. Kobe gets compensated well, the Lakers get to hang onto the face of their franchise, and the Lakers still have the ability to sign a max level player. The extension also ends in the summer of 2016. Some names of potential free agents that summer? Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Danillo Gallinari, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, and Mike Conley. Let the speculation begin.

Topics: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

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  • hookedonnews

    The question is not whether the Lakers needed to keep Kobe or how much he’s worth. The question is whether giving him such a large contract is going to hurt the team. I doubt that many fans are comforted by the list of free agents who will be available in 2016. Will the addition of one free agent in 2014 get this team to a championship? I guess we’ll have to see. This deal pretty much reinforces the image of Kobe as one of the most selfish players in the league. I don’t know what this means for Gasol. Other great players have sacrificed their own salaries for the good of the team. I’m glad he’s signed for 2 more years. I just wish he would have taken less money.

    • Jim213

      Should’ve posted your view on the other site. SMH, can’t blame KB24 for taking the offer (original) that the owners proposed. Mentioned this in the past too, Kobe has made more money for the organization than what he’s paid. I just don’t want to hear excuses from management to why they couldn’t resign certain players on the current roster (bench mob) come 2014 FA. They have the money but the cap limits them from doing so given it’s main intention is to limit bigger market over spending while trying to even the playing field between small and big markets.

      With that said I believe the team will need to be cautious of who they attain in 2014 or ,2015 (franchise player). If Melo comes next year then don’t expect K Durant to consider coming in 2016 FA. But if they’re looking for a better all around player then Love will likely be available 2015. Which may appeal to more offensive minded scorers (shooters). Both Melo and Durant shoot a high number of shots so don’t see them playing together for any team. IMO, it be best to go after a second or third go to guy next season if things don’t pan out with Melo come 2014 FA. Aside of that it’s only a two year contract so it would be best to focus on the other things first given Kobe will be around for another 2 seasons.

      • hookedonnews

        Not questioning Kobe’s value to the team, how much money he brings in, etc. Just expected him to be willing to give up some money to bring some good players to LA. I don’t see Anthony coming to LA. I don’t think Durant’s leaving OKC either, but these things are impossible to be sure about. I would like to see Kevin Love in LA, but who knows? Kobe’s salary is going to make it harder to keep Gasol and get a max contract player. Getting someone like Carmelo and giving up your big man doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. He’s not going to play that much defense, and D’Antoni’s system requires ball movement and unselfish play. There’s not a lot of that going on in Melo’s game. I’m glad Kobe will be around another 2 years. I just wish he had taken less money.

        • Jim213

          Although, I believed that management would’ve gone with an Over 36 contract for Kobe it wasn’t the case. Given that Gasol is 33, an over 36 salary contract could help give him attain more salary $ while allowing management more leeway to defer his contract an extra year come 2014 FA. But IMO it like won’t go above the $10 mil per year range.

          He’s not a max contract player and has failed to consistently own up to being the 2nd go to guy on the roster. He knows he’ll have to take less pay if he wants to play in LA though should also be aware that his value has dropped give his inconsistency. With that said, IMO, after watching the team’s play it won’t benefit the team in trading Gasol before the deadline.

          Between Pau and Hill (inside the paint) they currently avg over 20+ points and 20+ rebounds per game. There’s the team’s inside game right now. Pau has a better all around game than Hill who’s mostly came off the bench since joining the league. So it’ll take time for Hill to develop his game on the offensive side though the team has enough scorers.

          IMO, if management decides to trade Pau they’ll have to get a man for man at the position (big man). Given that Pau is more consistent on the defensive end than offensive at the time. It’d be best to trade Nash and Kaman for now. Although, kaman should be traded for another big guy given that Pau would be the only 7 footer on the team.

          It’ll also benefit trading Nash given that it’ll take off the over $9 mil he’ll be paid the following season. If not I’m not certain that Blake or Farmar could be signed given that their play will likely come with a pay hike which mostly applies to Farmar (vet contract). The $9 mil would be useful in helping to resign Blake or Farmar while allowing the chance to resign another player from the bench mob IMO.

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