There are some trades and contracts that require black-and-white analysis, but Kobe Bryant‘s two-year, $48MM contract extension is not really one of those deals, writes Zach Lowe of Grantland. It’s a most unusual situation – Bryant is dealing with a level of health uncertainty he’s never faced before and he’ll be the highest-paid player in the league despite being nowhere near the best player in the league last season. Now, the Lakers’ dream of luring in two max-level stars is finished and they’ll be paper thin if they use their remaining cash on a max deal. Here’s more on Kobe and his new deal..
- Larry Coon of CBA FAQ says that if the Lakers follow through with their 2014 plan, keeping Pau Gasol will require him to take a steep discount. If they really go bare bones, they can create enough room for one max player, a player around the mid-level exception, and someone for the room mid-level exception of ~$2.7MM. This means letting free agents Gasol, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, and Jodie Meeks walk.
- Kobe is worth the $48MM deal and then some, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says. A lot of that money amounts to a lifetime achievement award, but the idea of chasing a title with Bryant will be a major selling point for whoever they try and lure to L.A.
- The lucrative extension happened partially because of loyalty and was partially a risk on the Lakers’ part, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The deal means that Kobe now has the opportunity to go out as the highest paid player in the game and assures that he will play with only one franchise for his entire career, something that Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal could not do.
- The deal could cripple the Lakers’ chances of retooling the roster via the free-agent market, writes Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.
- Kobe took less than the max, but Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times wonders if he gave back enough cash.
- The Lakers are acting with heart and not logic in their new Kobe contract, writes Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins.