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.