Everyone can stop asking Kobe the “retirement” question now.
The Los Angeles Lakers obviously know something the rest of the world doesn’t in regards to Kobe Bryant’s surgically repaired Achilles and German knees. Call it perfect timing, but the moment social media exploded with news of Derrick Rose having to miss his second consecutive season with another knee surgery, the Lakers let loose a tidbit saying their international megastar shooting guard just re-upped with the squad for two more years.
Financial terms go a little something like this – two years, $48M; $23.5 mill ’14-15; $25 mill ’15-16. In other words, Kobe will still be the highest paid player in basketball and those pipe dreams of adding two high-profile free agents are going to remain such. Kobe Bryant, for the second time in less than a month, cashed the hell out.
So what’s this do for the Lakers flexibility next summer? Without claiming to know LA’s pocketbook, let’s just say a tad less flexible than this time 24 hours ago. The Lakers could add one max-contract player because remember, prior to this deal, the only player scheduled to be on contract next season was Steve “I’m not retiring” Nash. Those two alone are scheduled to make $33M in 2014-15. Another big time player’ll command anywhere in between $20M-$24M in max money. After that, have fun.*
The deal all but ensures Kobe will end his career with the only team he’s ever played for (**cranes neck at Charlotte**) and do so with 20-years of company time. The Lakers are 7-7 and riding a three game winning streak, and appear not to be in an extreme rush to put him back on the floor, especially now since he’ll be in town for two more seasons.
Plus, it’s kind of fun watching a scrappy Lakers team for once in their entitled existence (says the Cowboys fan; pot meet kettle). On the flip side, a Kobe/Nick Young tandem is going to be all types of hilarious with memes and GIFs every night. If there’s one guy in the league who I’d bet to have the balls/ignorance to look off Kobe for a big shot, it’s Swaggy P. And no, that’s not Smush Parker either.
* – Unless, of course, this is all some part of a sinister plot to make a serious run at Kevin Durant in 2016.