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Kobe Bryant on his two-year contract extension: ‘This wasn’t a negotiation’

Nov 25, 2013, 11:09 PM EDT

kobe ring Getty Images

Kobe Bryant signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers on Monday, a deal worth $48.5 million that will leave L.A. enough cap space next season to pursue a max contract level player in free agency — but just barely.

The reaction to the news from Lakers fans and outside observers alike was mostly similar, and followed a consistent theme: This was too much money to assign to Bryant for the next two years, especially with the fact that the team is far from a championship level contender as currently constructed.

Bryant should have taken less money, so the popular opinion goes, in order to leave some for those who might come to the team in free agency next summer.

The reality, however, is that the high profile free agents-to-be aren’t all that likely to change teams, whether the money is there in Los Angeles or it isn’t. The franchise decided instead to lock up the city’s most iconic sports figure for two more seasons, at an above-market price.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

“This was easy,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports on Monday night. “This wasn’t a negotiation. The Lakers made their offer with cap and building a great team in mind while still taking care of me as a player.

“I simply agreed to the offer.”

Until the hours before the Lakers’ meeting with the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, that’s all Bryant would say about the contract extension. He is 35 years old, working his way back from a torn Achilles and the Buss family is still betting Bryant is the best free-agent star available on the market, betting that Bryant can still drive ticket sales and TV ratings and make these Lakers relevant again.

This was a business decision for the Lakers even more than it was a basketball one.

The team’s consecutive sellout streak that lasted more than seven years came to an end a couple of weeks ago, and the fact that Bryant wasn’t in uniform when it happened is anything but a coincidence.

The Lakers are a franchise built around winning of course, but are even more about doing so with some of the game’s biggest stars wearing the purple and gold. Bryant not only drives ticket sales, he is also the face of the team’s most recent string of championships.

Locking him up for two years at any price was the right thing to do from a business standpoint, but more importantly to those questioning the amount of the contract and where it puts the team in terms of its salary cap situation moving forward, Bryant’s comments here show that he wasn’t the one pushing for a big-money deal — rather, it was the Lakers coming to the table with a more than acceptable offer for one of the game’s all-time greats.

  1. jerdogthompson - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Reminds me of that Classic Steve Miller tune

    Go on take the money and run.

    The rest of the league breathes a sigh of relief immediately followed by a oh so hearty laugh. Hardy har har.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      And Kobe and the Lakers are laughing all the way to the bank.

      • beach305 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        at the expense of winning titles

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        Better to lose and make money than lose and not make money.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:50 AM

        What about from the Lakers fans perspective? They lose games and lose money.

        The only thing Lakers fans get out of this are lighter wallets and a bad team.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        The team isn’t that bad. They’re 7-7 right now and will be better when Kobe returns. There isn’t a franchise changer in 2014 FA, and 2015 is not all that impressive either (as far as players who are realistic to sign). Kobe was the biggest star available that was realistic for the Lakers over the next two offseasons.

      • sportsfan18 - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        Yeah but even Kobe recently said it’s championship or bust.

        Well, it’s bust for sure. No, they aren’t bad, but they aren’t going to win it all in the next 3 yrs for sure.

        Both the Lakers and Kobe were about winning championships.

        Now, they have squarely placed making money ahead of winning.

        People put down the Thunder owners for letting Harden go vs paying him and going over the cap and into the tax etc… They plainly chose making money over improving their odds of winning, even though they are still very good.

        Well the Lakers have now chosen to focus on money rather than giving themselves the BEST chance of winning on the court instead of winning at the cash register.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      If anybody knows what it feels like to be laughed @, it’s a clipper fan. Any words of advice since your an EXPERT on the subject??

  2. jerdogthompson - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    What Brett, don’t like my post? Are you a closet laker fan like Kurt as well?

  3. legend30 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Who would you guys rather have as the owner: Jim Buss or James Dolan? 1… 2…3…. Go!

    • apkyletexas - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      That’s easy – Jerry Buss.

      Or Peter Holt.

      • legend30 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM

        apkyletexas, read the question again. I’m not asking who is the best owner.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      @legend
      Can I get Marge Schott as a third option??

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:25 AM

        The Reds actually won a World Series under Schott.

      • legend30 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:38 AM

        @spthegr8

        Sorry, she doesn’t count. She’s simply way better better than Jim Buss and James Dolan. And it’s not even a debate.

      • legend30 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        @spthegr8

        After thinking about it, you can have her. She’s all yours, enjoy.

  4. mackcarrington - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    It shows some of these lottery babies now that if they come to the Lakers in the future that the Lakers will take care of you.
    Whoever is laughing is the dummy.

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      That’s really not an unrealistic thought. Trying to help rebuild that brand that Dr. Buss started that has diminished a little bit. Really not a bad thought at all. The lure of the Lakers minus the banners and the history was the treatment management i.e. Dr. Buss. Maybe this is a step in that direction.

  5. beach305 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    This was a P.R. move to placate the fans after screwing up the coaching search. It’s not about winning titles in the near future but selling tickets.

  6. jerdogthompson - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    @spthegr8

    You and the rest of the Laker faithful need to STOP living in the past. This includes whining about the failed CP3 trade(3 years ago) and how many rings the franchise won. As for going forward you can count the Lakers out of any serious contention for the next 5-7 years. Oh that’s right, K love & KD will be joining you soon. DREAM ON.

    The Clippers on the other hand will be contending the next 5-7 years. We have the players and more importantly the coach. Both of which you don’t have now or anytime soon. Oh that’s right, we got 16.

    What’s that? THIS JUST IN TO THE BREAKING NEWS ROOM.

    Lakers will no longer be on TWC, instead their games will be on the History channel.

    Who’s laughing now? Biatch.

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      Dam you got little brother syndrom……It reminds me of the first time I beat my brother in 1-1…he was 36, and I was 25. I talked so much noise after that one win even tho I was younger and more athletic and obviously he couldn’t play like he used too. Only to play him again a couple months later and got stomped.

      Btw…..who won the first game of the season between the Lakers and the CLippers? I guess that’s ancient history too? Wait what round of the playoffs did ya’ll lose in? OH the same as us?

      Clippers fans always want to act like what the Lakers have done in the past doesn’t matter. But Clipper fan, what you’ve done in the present hasn’t mattered either. Enjoy having the worst defense in the league.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      @Jerdog
      Listen to you, the way you talk, you would think that the clippers have actually accomplished something. You clipper fans need a reality check. Last yr, you guy’s had your best season EVER and we had one of our worst EVER & we still made it just as far you did. When we our @ our worst, we are still as good as you 2nd fiddle, flash n the pan, have done S**T, LOSERS!!!! You guy’s aren’t competing for a championship this yr. You don’t have a chance of beating the Spurs or the Thunder in a 7 game series. If my memory is correct…….Didn’t we already WAX ya’ll once this yr????

  7. jerdogthompson - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Yeah. Little brother. Who the F**K ever said the teams were related? Look revel in the first game of the season win. The Lakers WILL GET BOOT STOMPED from here on out. Personally I believe Doc didn’t make the proper rotations in that game for a reason. They needed an early smack in the face after months of the media telling them how great they were.

    Oh yeah, being that we are 1 or 2 top offense in the league and the starting unit is actually 8 or 9 top defense in the league. It’s the bench that needs improvement. Doc is a top 3 coach and the bench will improve. Enjoy your paltry win against us, the next game will look like all 4 games last year. Utter blowouts.

    #InDocwetrust

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      “Who the F**K ever said the teams were related?”

      If you’re a Clippers fan, you’d know the answer to this question. Time to brush up on your Clippers history big dawg. They’ve been around for longer than the 2 years you’ve known about them.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      @jerdog
      If the teams were related. The clippers would be the Ugly, Overweight, not as popular, ANNOYING, Loud Mouth little brother, that nobody like’s but tolerate’s because of his big brother!!

  8. extragramsam28 - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I wonder who’s made more in NBA contracts Kobe or Garnett

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      KG right now ($315 mil for his career) but with this new contract Kobe will pass him for the all time lead.

  9. jerdogthompson - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    @asimonetti

    For your edification I’ve had the same 2 seats 8 rows off the floor at Staples since 2001-2 season. I started watching the Clippers back in 92 when they drafted my boy Elmore Spencer from UNLV. Yeah 2 years.

    I used to have Senate seats at the Forum and enjoyed watching and rooting for the Lakers. Kobes antics surrounding his rape case turned me off from the team permanently.

    Just because the all knowing, self promoting, moronic, (98%) Laker fans decided they were Big Brother is not my doing or problem. Yeah 2 years. What a maroon.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Then you should know about the business relationships between Dr. Buss and the racist pile you call your owner.

  10. provguard - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    L.A, needs less of Kobe, D’Antoni and Rivers.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      It doesn’t get much more LA than Kobe. The most beloved sports star in the city, he fits this place perfectly.

  11. telldatruth - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Washed up!!

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