Kobe Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension Monday, to ensure the fourth leading scorer in NBA history is a #Laker4Life.
When I heard this, I was baffled. I see this, and I can’t help but think that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has lost his marbles. Or maybe it was owner Jim Buss who lost it. Who knows?
There is no possible way that Lakers management could think that this extension will in any way increase their chances of winning another championship before Bryant calls it quits.
Bryant is 35-years old, and in his 18th season. That is not usually the time in a player’s career that they are living up to the expectations that should come with making $24 million a year.
Bryant has not stepped foot on the floor this year, and is still at least weeks away from doing so. He is coming off of surgery on a torn achilles tendon, an injury that has ended careers in the past. Players come back from that injury playing like they had before the injury.
Between the torn achilles, and his history of knee problems the last couple of year, Bryant will not come close to meeting $24 million a year expectations.
Bryant has been great in the past, but he will not be for much longer, if he ever is again at all.
The only thing that the Lakers could have been thinking when they made this deal, is how Bryant will put butts in seats. People will pay to watch him play until the day he can no longer lace up his sneakers on his own.
But Bryant’s extension will eat up roughly one third of the team projected salary cap space for next year. And that is before anyone else joins the team.
The deal will hinder their ability, if not erase it completely, to go after a big name free agent this summer. And they certainly will not be getting two.
So much for the Lakers getting Lebron James this summer, should he opt out of his contract at the end of the year. They will be lucky to get a declining Carmelo Anthony.
One thing is for sure at this point. The only other player on the roster signed for next year alongside Bryant is the currently 39-year old Steve Nash.
At one point Nash was one of the best point guards in the league at one time, but time catches up with all of us.
The Lakers will be forced to fill their roster with mid-level players, or possibly one max-level free agent and a bunch of min-level players.
Either way, whether you look at it from Bryant’s self-seeking point-of-view, or that of the Lakers management, this deal was all about making money, not about winning.
The Western Conference is far too deep, far too talented and far too strong for the Lakers to contend.
Lakers fans will have to suffer because of this deal. It’s a good day to not be a Lakers fan.