Kobe Bryant isn’t really known as a player to make sacrifices. He gave up a lot early on his career to win championships with Shaquille O’Neal. With each championship, he revealed more of his individual talent. During the second championship run, the Laker roster was catered to him. They won an additional two championships.
The Lakers had this idea where they could clear enough [cap] room where they could get [LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony] but then they’d only play for $16 million per year. I don’t think that was ever that realistic. Plus, Kobe [Bryant] was going to have to sell them [on the idea] and say, “It would be just like the Olympic team where I play defense and you guys be the stars.” [Kobe] actually did that. He actually did call both of them and talked to them about it but the sense I get is that neither of them are playing for $16 million each … I think all of this is just these guys having leverage. I think Melo goes back to New York and LeBron goes back to Miami. - Ramona Shelburne, ESPN
Unfortunately, the sacrifice Kobe Bryant is willing to make on the court, isn’t the same off the court. Laker fans have voiced their opinion, repeatedly, about Kobe Bryant arguably being paid too much and how it hurts the Laker team cap situation.
It’s a big sacrifice for Bryant try to recreate Team USA while he’s out there to be a role player. It was too much to ask for Bryant to look ahead into the future, see if the Lakers could fit two maximum contracts, and try and compete for a championship. Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be making his $23.5 million. He’d have to knock his contract down to $15 million, just so LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony could make $24 million each.
It would have cost Kobe Bryant $8.5 million for possible championship hopes.
Perhaps, that cost is too big.