Monday morning, news broke out of nowhere that the Lakers and Kobe Bryant came to terms on an extension keeping the future Hall of Famer in purple and gold through the 2016 season, presumably the end of his career. On its face, this was purely historic and celebratory day in franchise history, a proclamation that arguably the greatest Laker ever would never wear another uniform. But the devil is always in the details, and Kobe’s contract, which will keep him the NBA’s highest paid player, raised a plethora of questions.
- Did Kobe prioritize money ahead of winning by refusing to take the larger pay cut many expected, or did he simply refuse on principle to dip any further below his market value? (Evaluated on the merits of his drawing power, there’s no question Bryant is underpaid, and by a long shot.)
- Kobe’s salary will take up roughly one-third of the team’s cap space moving forward. How will this affect the front office’s ability to build a contending team around him?
- Was it even necessary for the Lakers to offer Kobe an extension in November, considering they have a relationship nearly two decades long with the guard, who has consistently maintained he’ll retire a Laker, anyway? Plus, he hasn’t even taken the court yet since tearing his Achilles last April. Was potential free agency really such a big risk?
- Did this extension reveal doubts on the part of Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak, and Kobe about the Lakers’ prospects of becoming a contender in the next two seasons?
- Why didn’t Jim Buss remove his baseball hat for the commemorative pictures of this landmark event?
All this, and much, much more discussed during the show. Click on the module to hear the show.