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Lakers not talking extension with Kobe (as if that was a surprise)

Sep 24, 2013, 10:19 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

Kobe Bryant could walk away from the Lakers as a free agent next summer.

That’s not at all likely — Kobe has said repeatedly he is a Laker for life and team management has said they want to keep him in the Laker family as long as he wants to play — but how unlikely something is does not at all slow speculation. It never does (Paul George was never going to blow off the first extension to his rookie deal to take less money in L.A., but Laker fans wouldn’t let go of the speculation).

Which brings us to the Los Angeles Times article Tuesday telling us the Lakers and Kobe have not talked contract extension, which was expected but is somehow news.

The Lakers haven’t opened contract negotiations with Bryant, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, taking a wait-and-see approach as he recovers from his injury….

If Bryant asks for the maximum 5% raise over his current salary, he would earn $32 million in 2014-15. The Lakers won’t pay him that much, especially as he comes off a torn Achilles’, because it would seriously dent their salary-cap space. Bryant alone at that cost would take up almost half the estimated $62.5-million cap for NBA teams in 2014-15.

If he took a dramatic pay cut and asked for $10 million to $12 million for 2014-15, it would give the Lakers space to add two top-level free agents next summer.

Bryant has said he doesn’t want to take a pay cut, but that’s just negotiation posturing. He will. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett took cuts down to the $10 million range and that is what Bryant will do, likely very quickly after July 1 so that the Lakers know they have the money to spend (otherwise he is a $33 million cap hold).

Is it possible the Lakers decide to totally rebuild and/or Kobe thinks he can’t get his sixth ring with the Lakers and leaves. Yes, anything is possible. But it’s also highly unlikely Kobe is anywhere but in the Laker locker room at this time next season.

That’s not going to stop the speculation, however.

  1. ocgunslinger - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    You’re correct. This is not news.

  2. cowpiesnotcowboys - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    The Lakers should have amnestied him this offseason and gotten started with their inevitable rebuild. He us just going to be an anchor holding the team back with salary demands out of line with his declining production. Contract talks with Kobe over the next year will show whether the Lakers are more concerned with ticket sales or being contenders.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      Declining production? Are you just assuming because he’s older that he wasn’t producing like he had been in the past? There were plenty of nationally televised Laker games for you to watch last year.

    • kb2408 - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Another LAKERS/Kobe hater. Look, the LAKERS don’t want to lose Kobe and Kobe doesn’t want to leave the LAKERS. The LAKERS are more than an NBA team, they are a brand. Losing “arguably” the franchises greatest player over money would be P.R. nightmare. Kobe wants to win ring number 6 and he knows he only has a very small window in which to try to do it. Therefore, he will not handcuff the team or put them in a position where they’re forced to let him walk. He wants the team to get another star. One that he can also eventually hand the reigns of the franchise to. And before anyone replies with Dwight was that player. No, he wasn’t. The two sides will settle on a figure that’s fair to both sides. Kobe has already made over 200 million dollars in his career and he’s pretty much assured of making millions more well into retirement. He is a LAKER for life.

      • loungefly74 - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        yep. Kobe makes a ton for the Laker organization off the court as well. He will reduce his salary in 2014, no question. you do NOT amnesty a guy like that. I continue to laugh that people think the Lakers need to strip down to bare bones and rebuild…they are one of the few teams that does not need to go that route.

    • batting1k - Sep 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Declining production??? Do you watch basketball?

    • musician0785 - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      his production is declining? really? go google Kobe’s career stats, and then come back and say ur sorry for being so wrong

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        I think even his most ardent supporters would agree that his defense isn’t what it used to be. He conserves his energy now for offense. So one could reasonably say that his production has declined based on that alone without having to get into the specifics of some his advanced metrics (which have also been dipping since 2009).

      • ranfan12 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        Well he was wiping himself out this season guarding all those point guards lol. It’s a wonder he didn’t collapse on the court doing that and playing 40+ minutes

    • bamabob - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Would it have made sound sense for the organization? Yes. But they would’ve also played in front of an empty arena. Anyone remember the post Jordan/Pippen/Jackson era for the Bulls? Ugly.

  3. papichulo55 - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Amnesty Kobe?! Wow. Crazy from a basketball and business perspective. Way too much competition in LA from other forms of entertainment for The Lakers to EVER rebuild like Philly. Kobe can still Ball, and he still makes a lot of money for the Buss family. Case closed.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      from a business perspective amnestying kobe makes tons of sense. Winning games is what puts fans in the stands. There is a huge correlation between winning and fan attendance. Kobe’s injury was the perfect opportunity for them to cut him loose, but they were too nostalgic.

      • Kurt Helin - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        Kobe puts fans in the stands, to suggest amnestying him was a good business move suggests no understanding of the LA market, where the Lakers would not be forgiven for that for a long time. Winning or no.

      • ranfan12 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:53 AM

        Well that depends, because the stands usually sell out wherever Kobe’s playing where it’s in LA, Orlando, or Charlotte

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:29 AM

        I forget how much money the Lakers get from away ticket sales…. I’m guessing it’s around $0. Sure Laker fans will be pissed, but I highly doubt they boycott the Staples center. Win, and people will come to the games. They sold out games before Kobe, they’ll sell out games after Kobe. Especially since it’s LA, which has tons of disposable income and no NFL team to split it with.

      • musician0785 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        adamsjohn714 do you live in LA or the LA area? Doesnt sound like it…..Lakers just signed a BILLION dollar TV deal, you think ppl would watch a bad rebuilding team in LA? absolutely not, to many other things to do…..Laker games sell out in other cities because they dont get to see him that often. Maybe 9 or ten times a year on Nationally televised games, and once a year in their city. In LA we can see kobe all season ling, home and away, so the attraction while still great isnt the same as if he were visiting say Milwaukee. I’m telling you as a guy who stays 20 minutes from staples center, if the lakers tried to amnesty Kobe and tank….they would get the Frank Mccourt treatment…

      • topdawg4ever - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Yup. It’s a business, and the Lakers fans will still show up even without Kobe. Not amnestying Kobe will prove to be yet another wrong move in the Jim Buss era.

  4. kingwithringz - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This should be interesting. The Lakers are gonna want to sign two big name free agents next off-season, while dealing with Kobe’s extension and luxury tax future issues.

  5. ranoversquarells - Sep 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I hate the Lakers as much as the next guy, but seeing Kobe in anything else than purple and gold just doesn’t feel right.

    • kendoggydog - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Well, we Lakers fans hate you as much as the average fans:)

      • kendoggydog - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        And yes! Kobe only belongs in the purple and gold

  6. shockexchange - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    First Rent-A-Center suggested LA amnesty Horry Jr and now management doesn’t want to give him a contract extension. Let that sink in … let it marinate.

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      Not only are your nicknames uncreative, they aren’t even funny.

      • Anoesis - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        His opinions are still kinda stupid, but at least he forgot to refer to himself in the third person.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:54 AM

        Oh geez, I totally forgot about that.

  7. chargerdillon - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Being a Kobe fan and being Laker fan are 2 different things now. If you’re really a Laker fan the last thing you should want is Kobe to come back at anything but the veteran minmum which he would never take.

    As a Kobe fan I could care less if he retires or goes to another team. As a Laker fan I appreciate everything Kobe did for the Lakers, but it’s time to find the next leader of this team. Thankfully he wouldn’t pass the torch to a guy like Dwight Howard who didn’t deserve it, but he has to be willing to pass the torch and he isn’t.

    It’s time to start anew Lakers. The longer we wait on that, the more down years we have. ball don’t lie

  8. musician0785 - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Shockexchange, up on his daily troll….your reading comprehension skills are off, where does it say they didnt want to give him an extension….i read that they were waiting to see how rehab goes….moron

    • shockexchange - Sep 24, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Horry Jr is going to recover. LA is using his injury as a smokescreen to mask reality – when Horry Jr is only affective he’s surrounded by “exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L.”

      • musician0785 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        i think you meant EFFECTIVE, moron

      • musician0785 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        and did u just quote yourself? Geez….smh

  9. lemfaxx - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Hahaha funny news. Common sense please…

  10. albie23 - Sep 24, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Being called Horry Jr. Isn’t a compliment in any sense. Horry was a role player who never averaged double digits in points and would hit one shot after missing all game, it just so happened that one shot he’d make would be a buzzer beater. Horry shouldn’t even be considered for the HOF!

  11. lakerade - Sep 24, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    It’ll all work out, the Lakers will be fine. Will Kobe get a sixth ring? Who knows, but the Lakers will get #17, and we shall all be entertained, be it via simple enjoyment or simply being the hater that gets to enjoy defending why that still doesnt deserve his/her praise.

  12. harshedmellow - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    The Puddlers should’ve amnestied him- that’s just common sense- but I guess we should applaud the loyalty. But Kobe is a long, long ways from being able to set foot on an NBA court, and, when he does, he’s going to be a whole different guy. He’s brittle now- mark my words. Compensating for his Achilles will mess with his knees, ankles, back…

    If he even tries to play before March he’s an idiot. For what?! He needs to just use this season as a launch pad for next season. Play towards the end, just enough to show he can, then be as ready as a broke-down old guard can be for the start of the 2014 season.

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