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Kobe Bryant says don’t assume he wants to take a pay cut to help Lakers next summer

Jul 10, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

Actually, yes he will.

This is just a negotiating stance.

Follow along for some background on what we’re talking about: Every Laker player on the roster this season comes off the books at the end of next season . That includes Kobe Bryant and his league-high $30 million salary this season. His contract ends, Kobe will be a free agent. In the wake of Dwight Howard‘s exit the Lakers are going to use all that money to rebuild a winner.

The conventional wisdom says the Lakers will bring back Kobe Bryant for the 2014-15 season (and maybe one beyond that) but he will take a pay cut from the $30 million salary he has this season to help the Lakers have room to attract more top players. It’s what Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett did with their last contracts.

But Kobe told Serena Winters of Lakers Nation not to bet on that big cut.

“I’m not taking any at all – that’s the negotiation that you have to have.” Kobe Bryant told Lakers Nation in an exclusive interview at his Kobe Basketball Academy on Wednesday. “For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut. Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can.”

He’s taking a pay cut.

Well, he is if he is as serious about winning another title.

We don’t know what the salary cap number will be a year from now, but a safe bet is $60 million or a little less. Nash is on the books for $9.7 million for 2014. If Kobe took no pay cut and demanded another $30 million, the Lakers are now basically at $40 million in salary for two players. That’s room for essentially one max deal, then a lot of minimum ones. Good luck convincing LeBron James to leave Miami or Carmelo Anthony to leave New York for a team of 40-year-old Nash, 36-year-old Kobe and a bunch of minimum salary guys.

Kobe wants to win another ring and he knows how this works. He’s also ultra-competitive Kobe, so he has to spin the negotiations as a win. So he’s playing tough now but don’t be shocked if he takes a contract at $10 million or less, giving the Lakers room to chase a couple of max players, or to spread that wealth around a little for quality players to go around their stars. Whoever they are.

But that only works if Kobe plays ball. And no matter what he says now, he will when it comes to make a sacrifice for the team. Because he knows it’s the only way he gets ring No. 6.

  1. 00maltliquor - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    Well, dam…good thing we didn’t sign Dwight. It woulda been D12, Kobe, and a bunch of D-Leaguers. Maybe even some Venice Beach ballers with no organized experience.

    Kobe, you gotta take a cut bro. Nobody of notoriety will sign with us if you’re taking 60% of the cap space alone, whether you are worth it or not.

    • 6thsense79 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:34 AM

      Agreed. With the new CBA $30 mill per year is a killer. Even an in his prime Kobe would have needed to take a pay cut to field a decent team. That contract was signed under the old CBA and just doesn’t work with the new one.

  2. buzzookaman - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    As Dwight left town he was overheard saying, Kobe how does my a$$ taste???

    • dezglobal - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      No one would want to take a pay cut… Ever.. Money makes the world go round.. But lets get serious Kobe.. With LBJ making $16 million a year at his young age, you sir are not worth $30 million at your old age.

  3. spideysdog - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Kurt,

    I believe Nashs 8 mill is still on the books for one more year, but yes, they are looking at over 50 mil in cap space.

  4. cowpiesnotcowboys - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    Kobe is never going to be the same after that Achilles injury. Mamba attitude not withstanding, his body simply has too many miles on it. His attitude on not taking a pay cut is all the more reason to amnesty him. This year is hopeless, and if he plans on being a major anchor on the team’s future prospects by taking up far far more of the salary cap than his remaining talent justifies, then you don’t want him after this year anyway. Amnesty him now and start rebuilding.

  5. bucrightoff - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    With the shape the Lakers are currently in, why would he take a paycut? How bad a shape would they be if he bolted next summer? They’d be destined for last place in 2015…except the Suns have their pick in 2015. Kobe has the leverage, plus Jim Buss is terrible. I can see a 2 year $60 million extension.

  6. myeviltwinstwin - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    Why would Lebron want to play with Kobe? I seem to read a lot of speculation on the possibility. But, I have a hard time believing Lebron wants to enhance Kobe’s legacy at the expense of his own by helping Kobe win more rings.

    I imagine at the end of his career Lebron wants to have more rings than Kobe. Playing together would almost certainly make that impossible. And, therefore, I don’t see it.

  7. shockexchange - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Quit the “winning another title talk.” Without “exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L,” Horry Jr will retire by mid-season.

    • unxpexted1 - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      i guess lebron doesn’t play with exceptionally more talent than the rest of the league right now huh?

  8. jeff6381 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    LoL! Now I see why Howard left and Lakers fan Lebron isn’t coming to L.A. Kobe is to stuck on him to be a second or third option so Lakers fans get use to sucking.

  9. patfic15 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Why do Kobe fans even remotely believe this guy will get another ring? His time is done. Enjoy slight better than 40 wins the next few years. And the best is something Kobe is in no way shape or form. Even in his prime.

  10. albertmn - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Can’t wait to see the Lakers not even offer a deal, or to offer one low enough that they know Kobe won’t take it. As much as they bought billboards for Howard, I don’t think they really wanted him back, and I could see something similar play out with Kobe as they clear the books and go for a fresh start and let Kobe walk.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      no way. Kobe’s and Howard’s situations are completely different. Kobe is just not “showing his hand” right away…which you don’t do during the negotiation process.

  11. dexterismyhero - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Go sign with the Heat!

  12. ebrownwareagle - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    To All the Bloggers… How many of y’all would take a pay cut to help out your current employer?!

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      On principle it’s the same… us taking less to help our employer.

      But the reality is much different. After Kobe earns his $30 million salary for this coming season, he will have earned over $279,000,000 dollars in salary alone while in the NBA. Then, add in another $100,000,000 at least for endorsements over his career, if not more and well it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to only make say $10 million a year for two years after this coming season.

      Duncan resigned for $10 million a year with the Spurs a few yrs back. When he did, he had the 3rd highest salary in the league and when it went down to $10 million, he has only the 61st highest salary.

      I think if I had earned around $400,000,000 dollars in my career to that point and if there was a salary cap where I worked and if there was a championship where I worked against other employers who also wanted to win championships who also had to follow the same salary cap and if I really wanted to win more championships, well I’d take a bit less than I could get under these circumstances…

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      If I made over Two-hundred and fifty MILLION dollars over the course of my employment, doing a “job” that children do when going out to PLAY at recess, THEN THE ANSWER IS EFF YESSSSS!!!

      Especially when rings and legacy are concerned!

      Listen man, I know what you are trying to say, but you can’t compare what Kobe does for his employer or what have you vs. what us common folk do for a living. We don’t get 4 months off of work (minimum) and only have to take care of our bodies and play a sport. Play. A sport.

  13. SQ - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    KOBE MUST TAKE A PAY CUT ,THE REASON HIS AVERAGE IS HIGH BECAUSE HE SHOOTS THE BALL 50 TIMES .IF HE PLAYED AS A TEAM PLAYER HIS AVERAGE WILL BE AROUND 15 POINTS BUT WILL HAVE MORE ASSISTS

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