The speculation over whether or not a 35-year old Kobe Bryant was worth the huge contract extension he got on Monday, has been anything but dull. Analysts, average Joe’s and Lakers’ faithful have all chimed in on this recent deal that is set to make “The Black Mamba” $48.5 million richer over the course of his 19th and 20th seasons in the NBA.
But what is the correct answer to the question everyone has been asking? That question obviously being whether or not is was a smart move for the Lakers as a franchise. I guess there is no right or wrong answer until we’ve watched the deal mature.
One thing Kobe Bryant has said is that “This (new contract) wasn’t a negotiation”. Kobe, who has been working hard at making his return since suffering a torn Achilles tendon late last season, said, back in July, that he wouldn’t take less money to stay a Laker.
Since hearing that Kobe wouldn’t accept a paycut, and now seeing that Kobe will bring home $23.5 million and $25 million per season as a 36-year old and 37-year old, respectively, many fans and media outlets have remarked about how Kobe has won the negotiations with LA.
Kobe says that there wasn’t a negotiation to be won:
“This was easy,” Bryant said 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.”
So, did Los Angeles sacrifice their future in order to stay loyal to a Laker legend? That remains to be seen. The fact still remains that nothing is promised in free agency, and the Lakers are playing a game of being sure they have a star to fall back on. The Lakers tried to make Dwight Howard their future cornerstone, but he fled for Houston the first chance he had.
Without many options in free agency, as many expect Carmelo Anthony to take the larger payday that only the New York Knicks can offer, perhaps locking up Kobe for two more years was the right approach, despite his advanced age.