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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 10/21/15

Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said that he doesn’t regret signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48.5MM extension back in 2013, regardless of how Bryant’s tenure with the franchise ends, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. “You give Kobe Bryant $50MM for two years,” Buss said regarding the Mamba’s contract. “Are you kidding me? What did he bring us? In this day and age, what did he bring us, for 20 years? And if that isn’t what you’re supposed to do, then I have no idea what life is all about. You pay the guy. You believe in the guy. If he ends up [staying healthy], that’s fantastic. Well everybody [in the media] cut me up for that, but I’d say over 200 fans have come up to me and said, ‘Thank you so much for letting my kid see Kobe Bryant for two more years.’ And I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m glad I can see him for two more years.’

Buss also took the time to refute a report by Henry Abbott of ESPN indicating that the organization was anxious for Bryant to depart so it could begin rebuilding properly, Amick adds. “It’s [expletive], that’s exactly what that was,” Buss said when asked about the article. “The organization absolutely loves him. You know why? Because he has made a living, as we [have] with the Lakers for the last 20 years, because of this man. Magic Johnson carried us [to] this part [of their history] … and Kobe Bryant has carried us for 20 years. So every person that works in that organization, why would they hate him? Why would they want him out of there? There’s only a basketball or a Kobe hater that would want that. There’s no other reason.

This brings me to the topic/question of the day: Do you believe that the Lakers made a mistake in signing Kobe Bryant to an extension back in 2013? What are your feelings on franchises rewarding players for their past performances more so than their current production level?

Should a team pay big money for the twilight years of a player’s career as a way to thank him for past service, or should he be forced to take a pay cut that is in line with the production he currently provides? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on Bryant’s deal, as well as the concept of loyalty contracts in general. We look forward to what you have to say on the subject.

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8 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 10/21/15

  1. ncik

    “What are your feelings on franchises rewarding players for their past performances more so than their current production level?” That’s what happens in most free agent deals (maybe less so in the NBA than in, say, MLB, but still)

  2. Jacob Jackson

    “I’m supposed to make these MFers better by practicing, Mitch? These MFers ain’t doing s— for me!”

    Yep, that’s Kobe at practice. Undermining the GM, undermining his teammates, and eventually, after getting injured yet again, no longer traveling with the team. That’s what $25M per year gets you nowadays.

    If the goal is additional championships, then yes, the Lakers made a mistake by extending Kobe. They essentially wasted a few years.

    There was nothing to lose by letting him enter into FA, seeing what the market would pay him, and then matching that figure if no better options presented themselves. It also would’ve given them the option to see if any other stars were actually interested in playing there in a hypothetical post-Kobe Lakers world.

    As just one hypothetical scenario, imagine if Lebron opted out from his Heat deal (remember, they just got destroyed by the Spurs and Wade clearly was past his peak) and instantly expressed a preference for being the new face of the Lakers. With Kobe coming off the books at the end of 2014 (assuming they didn’t sign him to that extension), the Lakers would essentially have been Lebron and an empty cap sheet at that point.

    Unlike Kobe, Lebron is a great FA recruiter and teammate, and a guy who other free agents would’ve been willing to sacrifice both money and parts of their game to join up with.

    You could’ve built a pretty damn good team in free agency alone in 2014 if you had Lebron on board, an empty cap sheet, and the lure of the Lakers’ market and brand:

    Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, Shaun Livingston, Anthony Morrow, Mo Williams all could’ve been fit into Laker cap space that offseason alongside Lebron. They wouldn’t have had enough money to have that nice depth listed above and a good two-way big, but they could put Lebron at the 4, those six guys at the 1-3 spots, and a few cheap, athletic no-offense rim protectors like Biyombo and that would’ve been a playoff team even in the West, even in year 1.

    Long-term, they would’ve been good enough, and “fun” enough, to make future elite free agents think long and hard. DeAndre Jordan could’ve fit into cap space this past summer, and that team would’ve been a logical destination for Durant two years after Lebron’s arrival, too.

    Instead, we’ve seen the Lakers relegated to 3rd or 4th option for every elite free agent the past two summers. That is a direct result of the Kobe Bryant extension, which placed 40% of the value of the entire salary cap in one player who was past his prime, injured, didn’t play defense, and was a selfish teammate who other people didn’t want to play with.

  3. aarongill

    Buss has ruined the franchise. Kobe never should’ve been offered this money mid season. Lebron didn’t sign cuz he knew couldn’t win with Cleveland. He was “all in” to win. If Kobe were to enter free agency and know the lakers would get a key free agent he would take less money. If they weren’t, Kobe could get more money.

  4. Chuck Myron

    I think the Lakers had to do it, though they probably didn’t have to go as high as $48.5MM over two years. But no fanbase loves a player in the NBA as much as Lakers fans love Kobe Bryant. That connection has value. I don’t think anyone involved with that organization could stomach seeing him in another uniform, and I don’t know that the Lakers would have been any better off in free agency in past two summers if Kobe weren’t around.

  5. Will

    The Lakers overpaid, but I think Kobe deserved it. Kobe’s presence is a huge part of that large Time Warner contract the team got. And, oddly enough considering his performance the last few years, he is still a huge star for the league (jersey sales, etc).

    A greater problem for the Lakers is that their deals to add talent just didn’t work out (Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash) and the latest CBA.

    The CBA has shifted power away from the glamour franchises (and by glamour franchises I mean teams in large cities with large television contracts) and toward teams that draft well. A few years ago I was thinking, “the Lakers need to get John Wall and Paul George.” But they can’t. They got signed to those mega max extensions and wont be going on the market. There will be fewer stars available on the market which will mean the Lakers will have fewer opportunities to get them. Their market advantages are lessened.

    • aarongill

      I agree. With the new cba and RFA it’s hard to get a young player like you mentioned because it ties up your salary cap for three days and it’s highly likely to get matched. The only free agents you can get are older ones or draft busts. But for the stars buss has no idea what to do in the meetings as he has run the team to the ground

  6. eyeballtwo

    There is a reason no big name FAs want to sign with the Lakers, and the reason is Kobe’s asinine selfish attitude. He is a standoffish egomaniac poor teammate that probably still looks in the mirror trying to emulate everything His Errorness said or did. And for but the last 2 years the media has covered for his act. Jersey sales? Are you freakin’ kidding me? How about ‘make the playoffs’ sales/revenue? There are a lot of has been players that realize their CURRENT worth and go to teams to WIN GAMES, not score points at all costs. Using the ‘well, all he’s done for our franchise’ excuse is just that. Hell, the Lakers should still be paying Magic, Kareem, Worthy, and the best perimeter defender ever – Coop, for what they did for the franchise. And Jerry Buss would have signed the same deal his son did, stop with the hating-everybody-with-authority mentality. Using this warped theory, I believe micheal Jordan would still owe the Wizards a ton of money, seeing how he set that franchise BACK!

  7. eyeballtwo

    Jersey sales does NOT equal playoff appearances or wins. If Kome had more class, if he could be a better teammate, maybe he could have drawn a prime time FA to that huge market of sunny Southern Califormia. Instead, he gets……Hibbard?? His egotistical selfish play is not conducive to bringing in talented teammates. And can we stop with the – he’s earned it – shtick? Please. If that’s the case, the Lakers should still be paying Magic, Cap, Big Game James, and the best perimeter defender ever – Coop. Conversely, his errorness should probably owe the Wizards a couple of million $ for how much he set that franchise back. We can also stop with the blaming anybody in authority – Jim Buss – for his decision, because I believe Jerry Buss would have made the same deal, or risk being called out in the media by the black mamba, you know that great team player/recruiter. Kome’s had already made millions of $ from past salaries, and endorsements, why does he need $20+ million a year now – oh, that’s right – at $7 million per adulterous act, that add’s up pretty quickly. But hey, let the same people who whine about the ‘income inquality’ keep praising and making excuses for this horse’s butt – ESPN, I’m looking at you – if shows their true color, which is green (with envy).

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