On a day when Derrick Rose was ruled out for a second straight season and the Timberwolves agreed to trade 2011′s second overall pick to Sacramento, Kobe Bryant dominated NBA headlines. The Lakers star signed a two-year extension with the team worth $48MM+, ensuring that he’ll remain under contract through 2016. We passed along several reactions to the agreement last night, but updates continue to trickle in, so today’s round of Lakers notes focuses heavily on Kobe’s new deal. Let’s dive in….
- Bryant tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that he and the Lakers didn’t really negotiate his extension. According to Bryant, the team proposed a deal and he “simply agreed to the offer.”
- Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles that the Buss family felt like the extension was the “right thing to do.”
- Buss on the deal: “This wasn’t something I decided to do; this wasn’t something [general manager] Mitch Kupchak decided to do. This was a Buss family decision…. We made him the highest-paid player in the NBA because we felt like it was the right thing to do. This wasn’t about what somebody else would pay him or outbidding anyone for him.”
- It’s possible the Lakers will waive Steve Nash using the stretch provision next summer. But that would likely only happen if that extra $6MM+ in cap space would be the difference between the team signing or not signing a top target, says Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Stretching Nash’s cap hit would give L.A. less flexibility in 2015 and 2016, which could discourage the club from going that route.
- Asked today if he’ll be the next Laker to sign an extension, Pau Gasol replied that he hasn’t talked to the team about it, and is keeping his focus on the court for now (Twitter links via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA and Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times). Kupchak later confirmed that the team isn’t currently planning on an in-season extension for Pau (Twitter link via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News).
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton presents a few best-case scenarios for the Lakers in the wake of Kobe’s extension.