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Kobe Bryant's Early Termination Option: The $135 Million Elephant in the Room

First Things First:

Second Things Second- Central Tenets of My Belief System That Frame Points to Come:

  1. All the individuals to be discussed below are, relative to you (I presume) and me (this I can MoneyElephant confirm), rich.  They will, no matter what happens this summer, remain so.  Or ought to, at least.  This is not a crass, "pity the poor school teacher, fireman, and blogger" bit of pseudo-moralistic twaddle (yes, I said twaddle).  Just a statement of fact.
  2. The higher the dollar amounts involved, the more I consider "sacrifice" to be relative.  Take 15% from my paycheck, and it's going to hurt.  Take 15% from a guy making $5 mil, and it hurts less.  Take it from a guy making $25 million, and it becomes closer to a rounding error.  Not that the money doesn't matter or have real value- it most certainly does- just that the blow is softened by what's left over.
  3. Do not compare NBA contract negotiations with with "real world" scenarios of how you and I would respond to similar questions in the workplace.  They just don't apply. 
  4. Owners are entitled to make a profit, and a healthy one at that.  They also have a responsibility to deliver a winning product whenever possible, particularly when a franchise has the means (i.e. they make money) and place a burden on their fans (i.e. game costs approximately 60% higher than league average, inflated a great deal by tickets that are, generally speaking, really freakin' expensive). They are obligated to spend, rather than pocket, all that booty.
  5. Owners are also entitled to set a ceiling to the payroll.  For profitable teams with a history of winning, say... the Lakers, it should be appropriately high.    
  6. Basketball players have a limited window to earn gobs of money from the game, and can't necessarily be vilified for taking full advantage, but as the dollar amounts grow the more other considerations (happiness, family connections, winning) ought have room to enter the equation.  Money doesn't buy happiness, but it buys a whole lot of stuff, including flexibility and options.

(By now, you can probably guess where this is going...)

Other stuff important to establish/clear up before proceeding: 

  • Kobe Bryant is silly awesome at basketball, isn't going to slack off no matter how much money he makes, is as good a bet as anyone to keep his aforementioned awesomeness into his 30's, and has given a great deal to the Lakers organization.
  • The Lakers, in turn, have given much to Kobe, from the $127 million in salary over the course of his career to loyalty during difficult times, and a strong commitment to winning.  
  • I believe this is what's defined as a symbiotic relationship.  
  • Sometimes, everyone has to give a little. 

How's that for a preamble? 

Nothing, with the exception of Phil Jackson deciding to hang it up, will dominate the consciousness of those who inhabit Planet Lakers this summer more than money.  Money to bring back free agents Kobe Bryant with the Larry O'Brien and Bill Russell MVP Trophy Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, and Shannon Brown, money to sign Kobe to an extension should he decide to opt out of his current deal and lock into something a little more long term.

Throughout the season, we've heard Odom and Ariza talk about how they'd like to stay, and Kobe has confirmed he's not going anywhere. That's not a surprise.  (Where exactly would he go?)

What we're still waiting on is word about whether Kobe will start next season on his current deal or with a fresh piece of contractual parchment in his file cabinet.  The answer could play a major role in how the Lakers are constructed over the next few seasons. (Note: Kobe has an early termination option for next season that he must exercise by June 30th, and a player option next summer.  If he doesn't opt out this year, he'll almost certainly do it 12 months from now.)  And while there are all sorts of questions about how this will play out, one thing is clear:

The simplest and easiest way for Kobe Bryant to help the Lakers afford to bring back a fully competitive roster would be to opt out this season and agree to a contract for less than the max to which he's entitled. 

Last week on the blog there was a healthy mini-debate on this subject in the comments section, with readers and hosts voicing their opinions.  It's clear that a lot of Lakers fans don't think Kobe owes the Lakers any slack here, nor believe he's obligated to do anything but take the most he can get.  Others worry about this debate turning into another way to stoke the Kobe Is Selfish! fire. I get all that, and sympathize with the argument.  I don't think Kobe deserves to be vilified if at some point he demands a max deal, which, assuming he opted out this summer, would mean about $135 million over five years. 

But criticized?  Yeah. 

I have to be honest, here.  I'm struggling to get past the notion that if winning is truly the number one priority for 24, it would be foolish for him not to recognize the relationship between his salary, which could encompass over a quarter of the team's total obligations over the next few seasons, even if the Lakers push past $90 million in payroll- an incredibly high number by NBA standards in the luxury tax era- and the team's ability to keep good players around him. 

To terminate and re-up now would give the team cost certainty going forward, the sort of predictability that makes it easier to maneuver. A 10% discount would mean about $13.5 million, give or take, worth about $27 to Dr. Buss because of the dollar-for-dollar tax penalty. That would still leave Kobe with $121.5 million dollars guaranteed, or an average of $24.5 million a season over the life of (what is widely assumed to be) a five year deal.  A 15% discount, worth about $20.5 million in real dollars and $41 million in luxury tax savings to the Lakers, leaves Bryant earning nearly $115 million Kobe in Game 5over the next half decade.

These are still extraordinary amounts of money, and doesn't get into any endorsement income the guy makes.  Call me un-American, but as I mentioned earlier, the notion of real, painful sacrifice here is tough to wrap my head around.   Kobe wants Ariza, Odom, and Brown back, but has said it's management's responsibility, not his, to figure out how to keep the team together.  That's true on the literal, but not practical, level. Assuming Kobe realizes that there is a ceiling to LA's payroll, he must too realize that every dollar not spent on him can be put towards another player, whether this summer or beyond (at some point, the Lakers might need to add a piece, right?). Just looking at Thursday's draft, where the Lakers sold the 29th and 42nd picks for a combined $4.5 million, indicates the team is looking under every rock and couch cushion to fund this summer's expenditures. 

Other stars in salary cap sports have accepted less money or reworked deals to accommodate other players and keep a winning crew together. What Kobe could do is a fantastic expression of team and his desire to win, but isn't unprecedented. 

Fortunately, to opt out for less would have some advantages for Bryant, though they aren't necessarily financial.  (Could he make up some of the lost income in extra off-court activities?  Maybe, maybe not. I have no idea. He certainly shouldn't count on it.)  Beyond the massive and deserved PR pop he'd get, the biggest would be leverage.  The onus would be on the organization to continue to fill holes when they pop up, using that money to continue to field a championship quality roster (as opposed to seeding a trust fund for some random Buss nephew).  Every day, Kobe could walk into the office and ask Dr. Buss where his $40 mil is going. 

He would place the ultimate pressure on the organization to stay at a championship level while helping keep a core together with the potential to give him more jewelry in the next few seasons.  

Kobe is correct that it's not simply his responsibility to ensure the Lakers can keep some fiscal sanity.  It's not all on him.  Everyone has to give for that to happen.  From Kobe and Dr. Buss.  From Trevor and LO, both of whom are likely to get bigger offers from other teams than they will from the Lakers, meaning they'll need to leave money on the table to stay in purple and gold.  Each of the parties involved will have to come up with his personal price for a shot at more titles.  For players, the sacrifice is salary, for ownership, profits.  But Kobe's status as the BMOP (Big Man On Payroll) puts him in a different position than the rest of the squad.  It just does.

The Lakers have already shown a willingness to spend big for a competitive team, and will have to again this summer and into the next few seasons.  They can't, shouldn't, and likely won't ask Kobe to take less, but should they have to?

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (154)

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Kobe certainly doesn't "owe" the Lakers a smaller contract, just like the Lakers don't "owe" Kobe a max deal.

But it is reasonable for both of them to give a little when it comes to trying for additional titles.

Kobe taking less to keep the team intact seems like a logical choice to me, but we all don't think alike. If he doesn't take less, I can't fault him for it. The Lakers would still be able to re-sign Odom, Ariza, and Brown. They probably will opt-in Powell and Mbenga and decline Sun Yue.

The only real reason that this is an issue is Bynum's contract kicks in. I am not going to go there.

Good Morning everyone..

My 2 cents..
Regardless of what happens with our free agents Mitch will still find a way for this team to contend.When the trade for Vlad went down,i like a lot of others thought good move.Then Chris Mihm,another good move.Then the draft yesterday..The 3 players that had very little effect through the playoffs,bar maybe one good game should be super worried.I wont mention names because the man crush team will attack..

As for the trades over the last few days..If i had a choice over Carter and the Turkish guy,i would take the Turkish guy in a heart beat..Carter is not a winner full stop.
Shaq will dismantle the Cavs..The other trade being spoken about is really strange..Amare for Beidrinis,Bellineli,Azabuiki and Brandon Wright..Thats crazy if the Warriors do that.Plus the warriors keep Curry.And finally please no one suggest Mike Bibby please.My brain could not handle him for an entire season..Patty Mills going to the Blazers is the worst thing that could have happened to him.Poor guy..

Like Bynum and his contract, Kobe SHOULD take less but again will it happen? Likely no.

Like Bynum SHOULD have taken less even $14 million when without him the Lakers already made it to the Finals with Sasha Vujacic as a 6th man. (And they won without him making a major impact on the series).

Yea Kobe WOULD save the Lakers organization money and increase the probability that Trevor, Lamar, Shannon will all return if he opts out and returns. He does have other means of revenue such as Nike and Coca-Cola (the vitamin water). YET he already has stated that it is the Lakers responsibility to re-sign them without the need for him to opt out.

Mitch already gotten around $5 million or so from the draft trades. The Lakers payroll is currently $74 million and the Lakers also earned lots of $$ because of playoff games (really that 7 game series against Houston did help with money). Combine those two and that is tons of cash to keep both LO and TA and have room for SB to come back without the need for Kobe to opt out.

This team will win championships with this core and that means even more money for Buss to spend. If that is not enough then next year Morrison comes off the books and if not re-signed so is Jordan and Sasha is an expiring contract which could be used to help bring in better talent.

Will Kobe opting out and sign for less help the Lakers out financially that is a big YES. Yet with the moves that Mitch made AND the money made from the playoff games then it makes it even more likely for Kobe to opt out this year. Phil even stated that while it could help he advised Kobe not to opt out.

Kobe Bryant will not opt out of his contract this season unless something drastic happens.

Well guess we will have to just wait & see. He'll be talked about whichever way he goes. It would be great to have the team 1st mentality but in the end its always what best for the individual and that my friend is the world we live in.

Ah! the LAT needs to change it's sucky message board system. You make a post on a board, it goes dead and you either have to repost or just give up and stop posting...

TRADE KOBE! wait... wha? what are we talking about now? Oh, Kobe opting out... I wonder if anybody is going to predict that Kobe opts out and demands we trade for Rubio? LOL! Rumors... gotta love them... yesterday it was floating around that Jeff Goldblum was dead along with Harrison Ford... LOL! Why those 2? I have no idea...

The phrase "there's more to life than money" is well applied here:
If winning championships means more to Kobe than money, he may not get all the money he could make.
If winning championships means more to LO, TA & SB than money, they may not get all the money they could make.
If winning championships means more to Dr. Buss than money, he may not get all the money he could make.

Thankfully for them, they're all in positions where winning championships is not merely "there's more to life" anecdotal, but is practical and realistic.

Concur with Blitz. Kobe does not opt out.

That, alone, is some savings because it's less than a "max contract"

I would LOVE if Kobe took less money if it meant the difference between signing Lamar, Trevor or Shannon or not signing them.

I don't think Kobe will opt out this year and I don't think it should be much of a story. If he does and goes for less, great. But if he doesn't he shouldn't be criticized, in my oppinion, because of it.

I do, however, think he will opt out next year and sign what might be his last contract.

LG

Everybody told about how much both LO and TA had stepped up at the playoff and final, but fewer people mentioned that it was Kobe who required always double-teamed, and kicked out to both LO and TA, especially TA wide-open and made shots. Kobe made them better players. So they both should realize it and asked for less money to stay with Lakers to get more champion rings.

BK,

Eloquently and clearly argued.

I absolutely agree on all counts.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Same old story.

If Kobe doesn't opt out and for some reason the Lakers don't sign Shannon, Lamar, and Ariza next season he's a bad guy. Even in his greatest moments he's the most polarizing player to play this game.

I'm sorry but this is what it boils down to for me: Should Kobe get the money or should Jerry Buss? I don't think I need to tell you my answer.

David -

I think all that you said about Kobe was assumed. We don't comment on Kobe stepping up because, well, we expect it. Them's the expectations that come with a max player.

Has anybody posted this? If it IS him... weird...

http://tinyurl.com/ndhp26


Breaking News! Amar'e Stoudemire to the Lakers!!
about 2 hours ago from TwitterFon

Justin N -

I think you're missing the point. Sure, if Kobe takes less Buss gets the money, but as BK says, it's not going to some Buss nephew trust fund. It would go back to improving the team. It's simple logic - less money for Kobe equals more money for others which equals (usually) better players. An owner can only spend so much before it becomes foolish.

BK

my 2 cents...

sorry but this is the most ridiculous post by you ever in this blog. totally redundant and unnecessary. i think we're all tired of beating a dead horse so whats your point?

KOBE AINT OPTING OUT NOR HE SHOULD and if you agree why are you so obsessed with this topic. you're doing nothing but creating needless controversy. you're just making him look bad for nothing. totally uncalled for and a slap in the face. kobe deserves better.

Dallas Raines,

That would be, as they say, false.

AK

You do realize we're talking about increments in MILLIONS here? I mean what's the difference between 20 and 18 million? 2 million? That's still something I and my friends would be happy to take. Heck 100,000 is gravy.

Meanwhile a couple of my friends just lost their job. The economy and the state of the financial market being what it is, squabbling over mere millions seem silly.

Whether he takes a cut or not...considering it'll mean he'll get more years, and that he'll be getting it before the new cap/agreement...then really is there that much difference in the big picture? I don't think so.

If Kobe is so driven by winning, it would be a no-brainer choosing to take a smaller salary.

I mean, the guy's net worth around 40 will be close to 500 million. Would he choose to be let's say 25 million richer and have 2 less rings? I wouldn't. I can't imagine having half a billion dollars and truly 'miss' 25 mil.

I'm neither a 'hater' nor a commie, but I'm much more inclined towards a 'humanist' capitalism where lot's of other things matter besides money, and some of them MORE than money.

AK, thanks. I guess that's a spoof then? LOL! They sure did put a lot of work into it, the posts go back quite a ways...

Bynum should take less, these last two years have been a bust, and try to trade Sasha..Micth, that was a bad one!!

10. Luke is staying! You haters get that! Prepare for more Luke Walton because the guy is going to retire in Purple and Gold
Posted by: Jon K.

i'm afraid you're right but dont leave out the obvious.... NOT BY CHOICE.


I don't understand how you can make an argument on Kobe's salary without hard statistics on what Buss/Laker Franchise puts in his/their pockets.

How can a meaningful argument be made without that information?

doug

why doesn't bynum forfeit 10 million of his contract for his 1.5 pts and 2.2 rbds a game? anyone who thinks kobe should give a discount is prolly unsuccessull in life, because they don't understand the concept of receiving money one deserves..the point isn't kobe giving back money, the point is even giving that money back won't gurantee success, the front office mismanaged things by giving luke walton 30 mil, andrew bynum 60 mil, and vujacic 15 mil, etc. for useless contributionsm now you expect kobe the most deserving player in the nba for a max contract, a player who earns his paychecks 10 times more than these other scrubs to help fix management's problems and errors by sacrificing what is rightfully his? how is that going to solve any problems? management would just be given a pass on past financial blunders, and there would be no gurantee they learnt anything from their past mistakes that have put them in this position in the first place...you want rings? you want a dynasty? you dont fix it by a bandaid solution by having kobe clean up management's mess and past mistakes, management needs to sign kobe and figure this out themselves and get them out of this mess, because thats the only way you progress in life, you address the root of your problems and don't look for someone else to bail you out

I believe to show, and you want to send Sun packing after not being able to show. What's up with that?
Posted by: humanomaly (aka "The Anti-Crust")

WHAT IS THERE TO SHOW?? hes a complete stiff and waste of space... no speed no shot no strength. we only have room for one luke in our roster.

If Kobe really wants to have a chance at getting (6) six championionship rings or more he has to show the willingness now by opting out of his current contract and accepting a contract that averages around 18mil to 21mil during the life of his new contract. This laker team was not dominating nor will the other teams sit by and let the lakers win additional championships therefore if its truely about being one of the greats of the game which is defined by championship rings then Kobe do the right thing and maybe the Buss family will do for you what they did for Magic which is allow you to buy a piece of the team and you could have a second career as a minority owner of the lakers. This woild provide the possibility that you could buy a NBA team one day which would further enhance your legacy in the game.

BK,

Great job! Props for tackling a controversial subject head on. I have been saying for over a year now – in fact, ever since Agent Zero took less from the Wizards – that Kobe should opt out and re-sign with the Lakers for less than the max on order to give the team $3M to $5M per year in extra salary to keep the existing roster together. Needless to say, the blog response was akin to claiming that Smush Parker is a better player than Kobe, some posts personally vilifying me as wanting to steal money from and not appreciating Kobe.

In today’s megabucks mad world, superstar athletes and entertainers have extended the concept of taking care of family to encompass every living relative no matter how distant as well as every posse member or personal friend as well as any adopted felt puppets. How else can you explain why a player would hold out for a $135M contract when the team has offered $125M. To paraphrase Agent Zero, when he agreed to accept less than the max contract from the Wizards two years ago, what can you buy with a $135M contract that you could not already get with a $125M contract? What is enough?

Unfortunately, Americans have been brainwashed to keep score with their paychecks. Any manager who has dealt with personnel matters knows for sure what I am talking about. Give one employee a raise and the others will surely hear about it and want a raise themselves. It’s human nature at its most spirited and competitive aspect. You may not be what you drive, eat, or wear but your self-esteem and value are often measured by what you make, whether you are a UPS driver or an NBA basketball superstar.

Here’s hoping that Kobe and his team of supporters understand the dynamic that is at hand. Kobe has a unique opportunity to dramatically change perceptions by casual basketball fans that he is a selfish person and poor teammate. He has a chance to show up his critics and detractors by opting out and re-signing a long-term contract that leaves $3M to $5M on the table to be used by the Lakers to keep the team together. That is what I am hoping Kobe will end up doing. If he does, he will get every dollar he forfeits paid back many fold over the next few months as his redemption and resurrection proceed.

Tom

Here's a breakdown of BK's contradictory post, and the REAL meaning of each statement:

"The higher the dollar amounts involved, the more I consider "sacrifice" to be relative.Take 15% from my paycheck, and it's going to hurt. Take 15% from a guy making $5 mil, and it hurts less. Take it from a guy making $25 million, and it becomes closer to a rounding error. Not that the money doesn't matter or have real value- it most certainly does- just that the blow is softened by what's left over."
--CONCLUSION-- I agree, but by this same logic, Lakers ownership (who is #1 in operating profit in the NBA, increased its net worth by $24 million this year alone, and worth nearly $600 million) will sacrifice the LEAST (by far) to sign Trevor and Ariza. Yet, Kobe, the Lakers biggest cash cow, should be "criticized" if Ariza and Lamar are not retained? Really?

"it's management's responsibility, not his, to figure out how to keep the team together. That's true on the literal, but not practical, level. Assuming Kobe realizes that there is a ceiling to LA's payroll, he must too realize that every dollar not spent on him can be put towards another player, whether this summer or beyond (at some point, the Lakers might need to add a piece, right?)."
--CONCLUSION--"Literally" speaking, every dollar not spent on Kobe will go directly into ownership's pockets. People are clamoring about about Kobe taking $2 million less per year. That's "only" $4 million less profit for ownership. Like BK so eloquently argued, what's a measly few million to the ultra wealthy? This payroll "ceiling" is only a number that is set by ownership to ensure a certain amount of profit is earned. BK states that "if winning is truly the number one priority for 24, it would be foolish for him not to recognize the relationship between his salary and the team's ability to keep good players around him.", as if, after all these year, Kobe still has to prove that he wants to win as bad as anyone. Gimme a break. It would also be foolish not to recognize the the relationship between slightly lowering the ceiling to the team's ability to keep good players, yet BK predictably ignores this point.

"Other stars in salary cap sports have accepted less money or reworked deals to accommodate other players and keep a winning crew together. What Kobe could do is a fantastic expression of team and his desire to win, but isn't unprecedented."
--CONCLUSION--This is another misleading statement to bolster BK's argument that Kobe should be criticized for not taking a paycut AKA being selfish. I assume you are referring to other elite players like KG, Duncan or Magic. Unlike Kobe, Duncan is in a small market, that cannot afford players like LA can. And although Duncan is the best at his position, he does not have even half the revenue generating power (TV ratings, ticket sales, corporate sponsorship, merchandising, etc.) that Kobe has. Duncan and Kobe both have rewarded their teams with the same no. of championships, but Kobe has rewarded the team with much more money.
KG, unlike Kobe, signed his max deal before the collective bargaining agreement. One can argue that he was overpaid. Kobe, even with his max salary, is underpaid, and will be underpaid regardless of what happens. KG also had to take a paycut for his trade from Minn to Boston to go through.
Magic took a paycut, but was rewarded with partial ownership. ALL very different circumstances.

"to opt out for less would have some advantages for Bryant. Beyond the massive and deserved PR pop he'd get, the biggest would be leverage. The onus would be on the organization to continue to fill holes when they pop up, using that money to continue to field a championship quality roster"
--CONCLUSION--wrong again. Whether Kobe takes a paycut or not, the onus is still on the organization to fill holes, NOT on the player that easily gives the biggest return on investment for ownership.

--Look, nobody is saying that taking a paycut will not help the team financially. That's redundant and obvious, but it applies to everyone. BK is setting up a a scenario where Kobe will come off as selfish for getting underpaid simply because he wants to win. He states that everyone has a role, but he goes all out to diminish the role of ownership to sign players by transferring the onus to sign players on Kobe.

LAMAR ODOM

the more i think about it i dont think any other team is gonna pony up 10MIL+ for him... yes he had one great postseason (by his own standards) but hes still proven to be far too unreliable and inconsistent.

one postseason won't cure 5 years of inconsistency and GMS know that... give him a big contract anywhere else and add a little pressure and his true colors will show.

hes not even a viable 2nd scoring option so how can you pay him that much.

only reason i want him back is as champs we gotta keep the CORE. my only REAL CONCERN IS IF BYNUM GOES DOWN THEN WE'RE COMPLETELY VULNERABLE IN THE FRONTCOURT AGAIN. gasol moves back to center and we got a lightweight frontcourt all over again.... we got away with it this year but next year with a reloaded spurs, healthy garnett, and shaq i guarantee WE WONT HAVE A CHANCE... in a sense its all riding on bynums fragile knees and that's a risk i would like to protect.

even with resigning odom and ariza i'd prefer to add another real big body in the middle.. we could drop mbenga even powell and sign a middle tier big C/PF

In today economy, million of people who lost their jobs and their homes. So it is wise to say to those professional basketball players should take pay cut. While you are making million of dollars and while other American are struggling to bring food on the table and place to sleep. Think about it and make our Lakers fans happy by taking less money to help our team to win more championship in many years to come.

Gotta laugh at some of the over-the-top reaction to expecting Kobe to take a little less.. which is completely reasonable.

lamamba.. You must not know a lot of successful business owners than. *Many* small business owners take less at times to make sure their employees can keep on working and that they can remain competitive. *Many* successful employees take paycuts willingly when it's an employer that has shown loyalty and has always compensated that employee properly.

Have the Lakers been perfect in thier decisions? No. Has Kobe been perfect? No. This isn't about one side being right. I just don't understand why people begrudge Dr.Buss and his family making some money. Geez, guys!!! 9 championships as owner! 9 !! Are you guys kidding? He's the best owner in professional sports, by far.. and you don't want him to make some money? Ugh!!!

AK,
Why do you feel that owners are entitiled to make a healthy profit? I typically don't have any beef against against the arguments that you make because thier rational. However you belief that Kobe rather then Dr. Buss should take a pay cut is simply illogical. Get a grip man, I know kobe rubs the media the wrong way and your bias against him has begin to show as youve become closer to the team. I dont think you guys should run this blog anymore because your becoming too emotionally involved due to realationships with certain members of the orgazation. You two have been victims of Kobe's pompous actions and are now damaged goods. I remember when the two of you had very little access to the team, however as the popularity of the blog grew that all changed. Now the blog is suffering because of it.

okay, all of you already know my position on the Kobe-opt-out-gate.

in terms of him opting out: i don't really understand why he wouldn't opt out. he can extend his contract, and at his age, wouldn't that be the most important thing? some long-term security? let's say he plays the next year, and gets injured. if he opts out this summer, and signs a five year deal, the Lakers would still have to pay him for five years, as opposed to one more year. it just makes perfect sense for him to opt out and sign a long-term contract. whether or not it's a Max deal or smaller is up to Kobe & agent & Mitch & J. Buss to negotiate.

how about another scenario: Kobe opts out, Lakers offer a less than Max deal, but with incentives, like if he scores over 25 ppg, grabs X amount of rebounds, X amount of assists, he gets bonuses. and those bonuses can go up through the playoffs. i know to some this may sound like a slap in the face, but it does protect the Lakers in the long-term should Kobe's skills begin to decline. (i'm just saying "what if?")

AK/BK: how are incentives figured into the salary cap and luxuray tax threshold? are they simply added to players' salaries at the end of the year?

Why do people think that expecting Kobe to share the sacrifice is an attack on him? Don't you guys get that by going into luxury tax territory.. and well into it.. Buss is already making a sacrifice?

It doesn't have to have *anything* to do with how they feel about Kobe as a person. Nothing. I'm a huuuuuuuuuge Kobe fan and still think he should at least consider the cut. He has enough money, and by giving back he would shoot down the Kobe haters biggest argument.. that Kobe is "selfish".

It would be the final, winning hand of his career.. a chance for him to define himself as the ultimate individual *and* team player.

And to answer someone... Yes.. .I *absolutely* feel that Buss is entitiled to earn a healthy profit. Without his guiding hand, this team likely doesn't win 9 titles in the same period of time.. heck, imagine if Sterling had purchased this team from Mr. Cook.

Be gratefull for great players *and* great ownership!!!

Good Afternoon Charles....Good Afternoon Everyone...

not another endless debate / rehash of all the pros and cons of Kobe and or Dr. Buss (as well as the free agents) giving up money and who should---

is it my understanding that the Kobe part of this equation will be decided (for this year anyway) by June 30th? I am looking forward to that day (as well as July 1st), seemingly, as it were....

a better thread would be a discussion of what can (or will) the Lakers do if they can not re-sign their free agents (and I for one think and, of course, hope that they will) ...

there are some intriging free agent options out there as well as trade senarios of course...

and what (if anything) can the Lakers do to get ready to be even a bit player in next year's free agent-a-thon ...unbelieveable names out there for next year, many of whom will be under the radar due to even biogger names etc....

as far as this year...I would think that Mitch has some back up plans for each of the following senarios and who he can fill the voids with:

Lamar and Ariza sign, lose Brown
Lamar and Brown retained, lose Ariza
Ariza and Brown kept, lose Lamar
only one of the three are re-signed
none of the three are resigned....

if any of the above do happen, do we have a chance at Shawn Marion, Boozer, Turkaglu etc.

how about Ben Gordon?....in my perfect world we re-sign all our free agents and the Bulls do a sign and trade with Ben Gordon for Shasha, Morrison, Sun, picks,and whoever else it might take, (as long as it's not THE core of our Dynasty of course) ...

Mitch is demonstrating his firm grasp on being an excellent GM lately, he has to have a bunch of alternate senarios raady to be put forward in case we lose one of our free agents (and indeed, even in case we don't)...

Brandon Bass, Von Wafer, Luther Head, Andre Miller, Ime Odoka, Jason Kidd, Eddie House are more free agents for this summer.... (though there are only a few from that list who I would want etc.)...

whatever happens, I think Mitch and Buss know the urgency and importance of continuing to build this Dynasty and not being satisfied with last year...

AS ALWAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON) TO BE A LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!

Maybe Buss should promise Kobe a stake in ownership like he has Magic. Behind closed doors of course. That would take the sting out of taking less money.

Jamessw,

A few things...

1) You're addressing the wrong K brother. BK wrote this, not me.

2) We have the exact same access to the team as we did when we first launched it. It actually hasn't changed at all and you're remembering things incorrectly.

3) You're labeling whatever actions I've apparently been a "victim" of as "pompous" (I don't have the slightest clue what these actions are, but oh well), yet somehow I'M the one who has a bias against Kobe?

AK

30 mil for luke is to much they f*&%$# that up. Sasha too much for guys that are not athletic like trevor or odom they deserve more because they are gifted . Bynum is becoming a bust but you cant blame them for that. Kobe does not need to take 10% off that is too much. may be at the most 5% because he deserves the money and it's not his fault that you signed luke and sasha with too much money for what you get. LAMAMBA SAID IT BEST.

THE GREATEST HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO:

SUMMER OF LEBRON 2010

suddenly Kobe opts out of the final year of his contract in an attempt to:
A] steal the spotlight from Lebron,
and B] sign his last massive contract before the restructuring of the CBA in 2011.

However, now LA has the choice of offering a max deal to the 26 yeay old Lebron or the 32 year old Kobe.

Does Lebron choose LA, to play alongside the championship pedigree of Gasol Ariza and Bynum and possibly coached by the Phil Jackson?
Or does he go to New York?

And, if Lebron chooses LA does Kobe sign with NY to play for D'Antoni, who was his childhood idol, and who's system benefits aging starts like Nash and Shaq?
Or does he sign with Olympikos for a three year tax free 100 million dollar contract?

so who would be the other teams making offers to LO and TA and for how much? how much flexibility do we have to, say sign or trade on of these guys and pick up a FA? And can kobe wait to renegoiate his deal until he know how much the Team is offering to LO and TA? It would kind of be a bitch thing for the team to do, if kobe signs for less, and then lets LO or TA go.

giving bynum a big contract was a BIG mistake....that is all i can say...but if bryan wud take less money, then laker fans and the organization wud highly appreciate it but i dont think it will happen.

leonardbast,

I don’t think there would be a problem bringing up the subject of taking less to Kobe since he and his team are obviously aware of this entire situation but I think he might be insulted by proposing a bunch of incentives. The NBA looks at each incentive and makes a determination as to whether or not it is likely to happen. Kobe scoring 20 ppg, for example, would be considered to be likely and thus any bonus for doing that would be counted as part of his pay for salary cap and luxury tax computations. Winning MVP, for example, would be an event that the NBA would consider unlikely and thus would not include a bonus for it in his pay. Hope that answers your question. Thanks.

Tom

I still mourn the death of the great composer and lead singer of "We are the World". To talk about Kobe's millions or any Lakers millions becomes irrelevant to this sad day and more in particular to the recessionary times. Just look around you, the stores are no longer existing. Restaurants giving out bargains buy one meal take one free and our state deficit of 21 billion. As mentioned by Faith while people are having difficult times in meeting their monthly bills, it is just ludicrous to talk about spoiled people and swell heads asking for more - whether players or owners. I am a fan of Kobe & I supported him when he ranted. Today, he is a Champ again, happy times when a quarter of a million people showed up their love. I hope nobody whether bloggers, Laker owners, players would stretch and abuse the generosity of these fans. Going to foreclosure and homelessness is not mere a twaddle, it is real. We are just the medium for the silent majority of fans in disgust through manifestation of greed. The final message, get your act together if you want a repeat and support of the fans!

tiger,

>>> However, now LA has the choice of offering a max deal to the
>>> 26 year old LeBron or the 32 year old Kobe.

Sorry but you need to read the salary cap rules. Lakers are over the cap and thus are limited to re-signing only their own free agents for whom they own Bird rights, which include Lamar and Trevor. They are NOT allowed to sign another team’s free agent with a limit of $5.5M, which is our MLE, Mid Level Exception. That is true of most teams.

Tom

2) We have the exact same access to the team as we did when we first launched it. It actually hasn't changed at all and you're remembering things incorrectly.

AK

Posted by: Andrew and Brian Kamenetzky

i find that very hard to believe but regardless... since i just recently started posting i havent agreed with you guys in a lot of topics but this one really hits home... honestly it didnt take very long for me to figure out you're both not very pro-kobe. hmmmm. i wonder why?? as laker journalists could your new and extended ties to the MSM have anything to do with this? were you always anti-kobe or has those sentiments grown as this blog became bigger?? is it also possible that you may feel some sort of loyalty to ownership for giving you a job and that explains your agenda on this and why you have this obsession with totally spearheading this attack on kobe and his character???

please tell me i'm being totally paranoid and there isnt more to this?


Lets say we do not sign LO, Trevor, and Shannon. JB is happy with his one ring with this team and won't spend outta pocket. Now we are back to looking for more talent to satisfy Kobe(the best player on the planet IMO). Do we remember how he demanded better teammates and threatened that he would walk? Now, is he willing to waste time finding the talent or will he be unhappy once again? Kobe hates to lose, he was miserable when they were a mediocre team trying to compete.
I think he should consider all the options and scenarios in his future. Its not only for the good of the team, but for himself as well.

Yellofever,

What "new ties" to the mainstream media are you talking about? This blog has been housed by the LA Times since day one. It's never not been part of the mainstream media, if that's how you think of it. For that matter, we have no ties to the Laker organization whatsoever. They don't pay our salary and have no control or say over what we write.

You're not only being "paranoid" (our words, not mine), but you're factually offbase to a ludicrous degree.

AK

Jamesssw,

AK has always been a Kobe hater. Increased access to the team has nothing to do with it. He will defend management at all costs. His Kobe haterade has actually gone down in the past few years (or he is better at disguising it).
Here are some of his many Kobe-hating arguments in the past:

-just like the rest of the media, he magnified Kobe's role in Shaq's departure, while ignoring, or at best, diminishing ownership's role.

-criticized Kobe's inability to trust Smush, Kwame, Cook and Luke, when in actuality, these players were not worthy of trust. Ignored the fact that KobeBall got us into the playoffs that year.

-defended Kupchack's moves prior to Kobe's trade demands in an effort to marginalize Kobe's assertion that his teammates (Smush, Cook, Luke, MKie, Divac, Shammond) basically sucked.

-refused to even acknowledge the possibility that Kobe's trade demands were only a desperate plea to add better players.

-instead of demanding better players to improve the team and appease Kobe (and the fans), argued that Kobe HAS to be traded.

-continually made condescending references to "Kobe loyalists", while ridiculing the idea of a "Kobe hater". Hmmmm.

-argued that Kobe is somehow selfish, or does not put a high priority in winning if he does not take a paycut, while diminishing ownership's role.

For the most part, BK is more objective on this topic, but I fear AK's haterading has influenced BK to a mild degree.

Has anyone posted this:

http://tinyurl.com/m8rtoo

Trevor Ariza was invited to Team USA minicamp. For fans of the local college teams, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook were also invited. The rest of the invitees are listed in the article

Wow I haven’t been here in a min.

BK
As you so eloquently put it Kobe has a limited time to make as much money as possible for is and is family future. Dr Buss has stated that Kobe is reason staples is full every night from 96 tell know how much money has they made off him throughout that time? The sacrifice we ask Kobe to make is to get up at 4:30AM get to the gym and make sure he is the best, make sure when we pay to see him play it’s the best show in the NBA. We all keep on saying they get pay so much to play a game witch is wrong, they spend countless hr in the gym working yes working on those shots, after the first 10,000 shot it become work. Ariza coming back in no way would be a sacrifice he was almost out of the NBA before he start playing along side #24 now he will get over 5mil plus is value will go up on is next contract, ask S. Parker what is the diferance between playing with Kobe are D Wade.

Wow. Laker Truth exaggerating, misrepresenting, or flat out lying about things I've "written." You'd need to be Nostradamus to see that one coming.

AK

BK,

Because you repeat the same arguments over and over it doesn't make it anymore valid. Those who agreed with you still agree with you, those who didn't, still don't.

Jerry Buss deserves to make a healthy profit because he's the owner of the team? Well Kobe Bryant deserves to make his max salary because he's the main reason Jerry Buss is making a healthy profit.

Kobe is not opting out so this argument is equivalent to Don Quixote fighting windmills.

Kobe deserves every dime he makes and more based simply on his on court performance, the millions he generates for the organization and his dedication to the game.

If as you say Dr. Buss deserves to make a healthy profit then so does Kobe.

Kobe isn't taking less nor should he as the Lakers organization benefits most, and rightly so, by putting a championship caliber team on the floor.

As some have already said, for what he brings to the court, to the NBA, to the Laker organization, what he does for TV ratings and revenue, thus Laker revenue, Kobe is underpaid.

I would even be more amenable to your argument if you were asking that everyone take a cut across the board from Phil to Sasha to bring LO and Trevor back but I totally disagree with your proposition that the onus is on Kobe and Kobe alone because he's the highest paid.

Anyway has management said they can't afford to bring both players back without Kobe taking a pay cut? Uh No...

Maybe you're on the organization's payroll as an independent contractor paid to generate a ground swell of support for management among Lakers fan so that Kobe feels pressured to opt out and make less money while management continues to make a healthy profit. LOL!

Otherwise I don't understand why this matters so much to you.

Wanting Kobe to opt out for less doesn't mean you are criticizing Kobe, or are a "Kobe hater". Any Laker fan would be happy if he did opt out for less. I, personally won't think any less of him if he doesn't. That would be completely understandable. If he did, however, opt for the max I would be a little critical. Its not reasonable to expect him to opt out for less, nor is it reasonable to criticize someone for wanting to do so.

I think WAY too much is being made out of this.

LG

While it would be great if Kobe took less, I don't expect him to, nor should he be vilified or criticized if he does not.

It's nice to theorize that Kobe could take less and then use that leverage to pressure the Lakers into constantly keeping the talent cupboard full, but let's be realistic here. Once the ink is dry on the contract, the leverage is gone. Kevin Garnett knows that all too well from the first time he took a pay cut in the name of helping the team.

Also, there's always going to be someone who needs to get paid. Kobe takes a 15% cut, great, but free agent to be X is worth more than that on the open market. Buss isn't going to spend what Kobe gave up and then some in the spirit of 'one for all and all for Larry OBrien'. Do we then look back and say 'he should have taken 20% less'? 30%? Does the focus switch to ownership?

Also, since the team is over the cap no matter what, it's perfectly reasonable to look at all team expenditures as they relate to the bottom line. Phil mentioned Kobe sacrificing money to keep the team together, but is Phil going to offer to make a sacrifice of his own? He's basically in the same situation.

What about Odom? Yes, nice guy and yes, he does some very good things out there, so once you lower expectations to below all star level, you can really appreciate what he brings to the table, but is he going to include what he was overpaid during the last 5 years of his contract?


Fan,
" Well Kobe Bryant deserves to make his max salary because he's the main reason Jerry Buss is making a healthy profit."

Actually, that's not true. Most of the profit stems from having a reasonably successful NBA franchise in Los Angeles. Some of it comes from Kobe, but he's not the main reason.

yellofever -

You having a rough day or something? What's with the caustic tone? I don't think there was anything particularly inflammatory about BK's post, even if you happen to disagree with it.

Saying that Kobe could take a few million less if he wanted to help his team and his reputation is hardly revolutionary (or untrue). It sounds to me like you're a Kobe fan first and a Laker fan second. I love Kobe, but he should never come ahead of what is best for the team. If you think paying Kobe every cent of the max at the possible expense of being able to afford other players, fine, that's your opinion. But not everyone has to share it.

And last thing, I personally don't think an attack on their motivations is particularly called for either. It's just a blog, dude. Lighten up.

How dead does the horse need to be to stop beating it?

Who said the following statement?

"Kobe Bryant is silly awesome at basketball, isn't going to slack off no matter how much money he makes, is as good a bet as anyone to keep his aforementioned awesomeness into his 30's, and has given a great deal to the Lakers organization."

That's right. Brian "The Kobe Hater" Kamenetzky. Stop hating so much Brian. Geez.

read this: http://tinyurl.com/lu8zzr and that's what I think about the ridiculous comments of kobe taking less money.

AK, BK... great blog... can't believe what you guys have to put up with sometimes just because people have a computer and a connection... sheesh.

I think all the "you hate Kobe" people are missing the parts where Buss *is* taking less money to field a championship level team.

Both the bros have mentioned that LO and Ariza might have to take less to stay with the Lakers, but hope they make the same decision.

This is so lame. You so-called Lakers fans understand that Donald Sterling.. who is about as bad an NBA owner there is.. barely sells tickets.. yet pockets *millions* in profit every year? You get that, right? If Buss *only* wanted to make money.. he could make cuts all over the place.. but he wants a winner, just like Kobe, so he makes sacrifices.

I guess my point is... Buss is *every bit as essential to NBA titles as Kobe. Every bit. Or do you think that if the Lakers didn't have Kobe they would just quit trying? Remember, this team has lost superstars.. yet made bold, bold moves to get new ones (Shaq anyone).

The "Buss Haters".. (since people suggesting Kobe take less are "haters") are just *ridiculous* in my mind and victims of some cult of personality. One guy is *not* bigger than this team.

And before you attack that with "no Kobe, no title".. i would argue that the lakers would look much different.. but *still be in the mix for a title. Why? Because Buss is about winning Championships and would have built a *different type of championship team.

Dont be surprised if the Knicks get Rubio..Its been said that Lee and Nate plus parts from the wolves to get the deal done..The other thing thats odd is the wolves took Flyn as well..stock pile guards?..Could they have reached a deal with the Knicks before July 1?..

I think it would be nice of Kobe to take less, if it would guarantee our guys together. That condition would have to be met.

But to impute wrong motives to him that he "truly doesn't want to win or is selfish and really doesn't have the best interests of the Lakers" is very unprofessional.

Somewhat shallow and cheesy to stir up the dust, no? You should know better than that.

By the way, its considered common knowledge on other blogs the hypocrisy of our moderators. But hey, its there job to be hypocrites. They are blog moderators and they do a fine job of moderating a great site.

P Ang,

That depends. Is it a zombie horse?

BK,
I have two questions for you,
1) so in your opinion if Kobe doesnt opt out of his contract and take less, does that mean #24's main priority is not winning?

2) If Kobe does not opt out and the Lakes cant retain either or both LO and Ariza.. Is that Kobe's fault or the management's (DR.Buss) fault?

LGFI

The only blogs that would suggest the bros are hypocrites would be the flat-out Kool Aid drinker blogs.

These guys do a GREAT job and deserve way more credit for being objective and having solid takes of their own.

Disagree with them? Fine. Kevin Ding's colum that's linked by one of the commentators here is a well reasoned argument *against* Kobe taking a cut.

But to suggest that the bros have an agenda driven by anything other than *their observations as journalists who follow this team would be ridiculous.

san diego 32,

"I think all the "you hate Kobe" people are missing the parts where Buss *is* taking less money to field a championship level team. "

Not true. When Buss signs players, he is not doing it to take less money, he is signing players to get a return on investment. The team's net value rose $24 mil this year alone in a down economy, and the Lakers have the highest operating profit in the league. But hey, let's make Kobe out to be the scapegoat if management decides that signing Trevor and Lamar will not lead to enough profit.

Why is everyone ripping off at BK?? He just did a post in to support why Kobe SHOULD opt out.

It's a good idea that he SHOULD. If he does that it saves money to help retain all three. It is a good idea. The issue here though whether he SHOULD and that's why everyone seemingly gets emotional.

Sheesh it does not mean BK is a "Kobe hater". You guys who do that kind of thing gives the rest of the Laker fans a BAD NAME. It's perfectly fine to disagree but that attitude is uncalled for and screwed up.

I agree with Puddle that sometimes I do think yellofover is more a Kobe fan than a Laker fan. That guy said "4=equals to MJ" and how the heck does 4 rings=6 rings?

The Kobe homers are just as bad as Bynum homers. I mean its great they support their player who do play for the Lakers but their extremism gives Laker fans a bad rap.


htp,

"What about Odom? Yes, nice guy and yes, he does some very good things out there, so once you lower expectations to below all star level, you can really appreciate what he brings to the table, but is he going to include what he was overpaid during the last 5 years of his contract?"

Good point. Once the euphoria of winning a championship starts to fade, us fans will start recognizing what the fair market value of guys like LO and Trevor should be.

The fact is, LO's been overpaid for the last 5 years. Doesn't that mean he should "pay back" the Lakers for his unearned compensation by taking millions less to resign with us? His remarkable inconsistency has been well chronicled over the years, and while he's been paid like a 2nd star, he's never played like it during his tenure here.

Most of us know that Drew got a huge contract that was undeserved based on his body of work. With that contract hanging over his head, there's gonna be a ton of pressure on this kid to produce at an All-Star level next year.

Blitz,
"The Kobe homers are just as bad as Bynum homers."

This coming from a Luke homer.

in a perfect kobe would take less money, so would trevor and lamar and shannon and the rest of the lakers. phil would decide he doesn't deserve that much money for letting his team "figure it out".

unfortunately, it is not a perfect world. i would love for kobe to take less, but i don't expect he would. kobe deserves his money and then some. i think it is foolish though to say kobe doesn't care about winning if he doesn't opt out. well we could say the same about lamar, trevor, and shannon.

i think kobe has talked to buss and they have some hidden agreement to free agency. this is why kobe is not worried. he knows they are getting lamar and trevor back. i also don't think lamar will get anything near 10 million. trevor was amazing and i love him but dude was great b/c of kobe. he read the "bible" and followed it last summer thanks to kobe. also, all of trevor's shots were open threes. even when kobe wasn't double teamed then either melo or turk were playing the passing lanes in case kobe drives to the basket. look at every three it was b/c kobe was free. i also think kobe had the assists in a lot of trevor's points. anyways that is beside the point.

whether kobe opts out or not we can't say he doesn't care about winning. i also have never seen a player get criticized for everything he should or shouldn't do. none of us are his agent, or family, or in the lakers organization.

i have faith that this team will remain together.

BK
Thanks for a comprehensive, illuminating background analysis of the whole Kobe as a free-agent issue.

I don't know where I stand. But I know that in this stressing economy we all are sacrificing. And we will float back to the top together.

Ticket prices alone raise so many obvious questions.

I can go on but we all know in our hearts what the score is at this time. Our Lakers have made us forget a lot of bad things. They have made our lives better.

We thank them on this blog every day.

BK/AK Thanls again for the perspective, no matter how it evens up.

Baywood

My final post on this topic:

First off, Phil Jackson has earned his paycheck. He brought us 4 rings, the most recent one while barely being able to walk. If Phil does not volunteer to take a paycut to help sign Ariza and Lamar, is he selfish, is winning not a priority to him, should he be criticized? These questions are just as absurd as the questions addressed to Kobe.

To reply to a few of the comments thus far (I was away from the computer for a few hours).

Point of clarification:

Yellofever:
"as laker journalists could your new and extended ties to the MSM have anything to do with this? were you always anti-kobe or has those sentiments grown as this blog became bigger?? is it also possible that you may feel some sort of loyalty to ownership for giving you a job and that explains your agenda on this and why you have this obsession with totally spearheading this attack on kobe and his character???"

Again, as Andy said before, our access is identical now to what it was when we started. As for having a loyalty to ownership, we don't work for them. We work for the Times. The Lakers have nothing to do with us having jobs.

coxman (and others who make a similar point)-

"As you so eloquently put it Kobe has a limited time to make as much money as possible for is and is family future. Dr Buss has stated that Kobe is reason staples is full every night from 96 tell know how much money has they made off him throughout that time? The sacrifice we ask Kobe to make is to get up at 4:30AM get to the gym and make sure he is the best, make sure when we pay to see him play it’s the best show in the NBA. We all keep on saying they get pay so much to play a game witch is wrong, they spend countless hr in the gym working yes working on those shots, after the first 10,000 shot it become work."

I totally agree with you about Kobe's work ethic. That's not my point. As much as any athlete is worthy of making this kind of money, Kobe is. Unquestionably. That's not my argument. What I'm saying is that Kobe has the financial flexibility at this point in his career to leave money on the table to help facilitate putting a better roster around him. Management's obligation would then be to make sure any "Kobe savings" go into building a great roster.

Fan of the Mamba:
"I would even be more amenable to your argument if you were asking that everyone take a cut across the board from Phil to Sasha to bring LO and Trevor back but I totally disagree with your proposition that the onus is on Kobe and Kobe alone because he's the highest paid."

I'm actually pretty clear about that. Everyone is going to have to give back. Ariza and LO are likely going to have to take less than they could get with another team. Dr. Buss is going to have to allow a higher payroll to cut into profits. Other guys CAN'T give money back. It's not allowed. But nowhere in the piece do I say the onus is on Kobe and Kobe alone, just that his is the largest factor because it's his salary that eats up the largest percentage of payroll.

As for why I'm so concerned about it, I'm not really "concerned," but am talking about what I see as one of the most effective ways for the Lakers to continue to field a highly competitive team in the salary/luxury tax era.

BK

AK and BK, you guys are totally missing the point.

You're promoting this romanticized future of winning championships and building a dynasty. Suggesting Kobe taking less money will achieve this. Yet you forget that the NBA and pro sports are a business, which means the leagues exist to generate income. If it were just about the glory of watching great players perform great feats, Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Dwight, and Carmelo could just team together, rent out a YMCA gym, and put on a free exhibition to the public and we can get all get inspired by watching their talent...Pro sports are about watching amazing athletic performances, but never forget this is all tied to money...and really there is absolutely nothing wrong with that...

there usually are 2 types of ppl when it comes to money, one type sees money as a negative thing, greed, and superficial, while the other person sees it as a honest reflection of their effort and work, a tangible, exchangeable representation of their accomplishments that they can utilize in the future to improve their life...

so when you say Kobe should take less money so the Lakers can resign players, you are probably right about Buss's increased willingness to spend more on players which might result in an increased amount of championships, but the underlying action you have taken to achieve this is deprive Kobe Bryant of what he fully deserves and has earned...now the immediate counter arguement to this is one of outrage, that Kobe has enough millions, and this is natural, because most of us aren't as wealthy as him, but you must think of things relatively, you must recognize even though Kobe has made millions, he makes several times more millions for the Lakers organization and the NBA, and various other entities, his cut is relatively small compared to these other parties...so it is unfair to look at it from the perspective that even though he gets a 15 mil a yr contract, he should shut up and be happy, because it is overlooking the fact he is making millions more for other ppl...

I don't oppose the idea of players taking less money, but what I am against is taking away from players who deserve money...Isn't it ironic that when the Lakers and the media suggest players cut their salaries for the "good of the team", they start with the player, Kobe, that deserves the money the most? Why the hell don't you start with players on the roster that don't deserve their money? Why don't you ask Luke to giveback about 20 million for his inability to hit open jumpshots and stay with small forwards? Why don't you get Bynum to give back 50 million and earn the same as DJ MBenga for the same amount of help he gives? Sasha? How about Odom give a few mil back for no showing up consistently for the past 3 years? Am I the only one who thinks it's nuts to ask the ONE GUY THAT DESERVES THE MONEY THE MOST TO TAKE A PAYCUT, WHILE EVERYONE SILENTLY LETS SOME SEVERE UNDERACHIEVERS ON THIS TEAM GET MONEY THEY DON'T DESERVE?

Lakers administration made tons of money the past two seasons with the team on the finals, so why no use it to keep the team together?
What about losing teams? how they can pay their roster? they surely can do it without the revenues of a successful franchise like the Lakers -in the middle of a city with big hollywood stars and people with money- with a less powerful marketing machine and less possible buyers.
We have the monetary tools to pay Kobe and resign our FAs, and even pay another good player, so why be like Scrooge?
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, AND WE CAN SPEND MONEY TO REMAIN THAT WAY

GO LAKERS!!

I FULLY AGREE with Lakertruth about Kobe shud not be asked to take less to sign up both Ariza and Odom. But I do not agree that the Kamenetzky brothers are Kobe-haters. They are merely stating an opinion. While I also agree that the issue has been raised unnecessarily in this particular blog, I also was wondering how the Kamenetzky bros stand on it.

To AK/BK:
I believe it is wise for you to consider the contentions of the opposing opinion.

Laker Truth

How much did the Clippers franchise increase in value this year? Because it did. Read the links. The values are for 2008.. but you get the picture.

Clippers
http://tiny.cc/RdQRr

Lakers
http://tiny.cc/aqhBv

Bad teams can make a profit too.. I'm glad I root for a good team and more than happy it makes a profit.

I don't want to see the day when It becomes easier for Buss to cash in and sell the Lakers because it's less of a headache. Remember what a mess the Dodgers were after the O'Malley family sold? You want that at Staples center?

Also, another reason Buss should get a healthy profit. He takes the risk. What risk? Let's say Kobe blows out his knee and they miss the playoffs.. who reimburses Buss for the lost playoff revenue? No one. (i'm not talking about insurance money Buss gets for Kobe's contract.. I'm talking lost revenue)

You seem to be asking why we think Buss should be expected to make a healthy profit?

I ask, when he's show he's willing to go above and beyond as an owner.. why shouldn't he? Can you give a good reason?

Again.. no one is putting it "all on Kobe". If buss wasn't willing to go into luxury tax town, I wouldn't be making this arguement. And yes, I expect LO and Ariza to take a little less as well. Don't make it look like it's all about "Kobe's a bad guy if he doesn't opt out".

Bring it.

Laker Truth

one add..

They should get the highest profit in the league.. they are the best run organization in the league, first class and dedicated to providing us, the fans, with the best team possible.

McNano
Basketball franchises have plummeted in value, with the economy. So you think only Jerry Buss should make the bridge to our next championsip??

To put into perspective, unemployment is above 10% in CA, salaries are going south, we all have been affected?

We all need to ask for less.

Baywood

Laker Guru from India-

"BK,
I have two questions for you,
1) so in your opinion if Kobe doesnt opt out of his contract and take less, does that mean #24's main priority is not winning?

2) If Kobe does not opt out and the Lakes cant retain either or both LO and Ariza.. Is that Kobe's fault or the management's (DR.Buss) fault?"

Fair questions, no doubt. For the first, I don't think A (not taking less) necessarily equals B (his top priority is not winning). That's a little too cut and dried, in no small part because he obviously works so hard on improving his game and is remarkably competitive. What I do think it does, though, is cause him to lose some of the high ground if in a year or two the payroll is such that if a hole comes up and the Lakers just can't afford to fill it. The idea that he would complain or show discontent would ring more hollow to me. Basically he has a chance to help satisfy two objectives, both very reasonable- to make a ton of money, and win more rings. They're not mutually exclusive.

It's not that he doesn't prioritize winning, but that he either wasn't willing to take this step to help facilitate it (we are, in fairness, talking about a lot of money in absolute terms) or simply doesn't see this as a responsibility he has towards getting a shot at those rings. I don't know. I'm don't think "selfish" is the right word if he doesn't opt out or doesn't take less.

As for the second question, its hard to answer without knowing how much they'd get from other teams. The answer is probably "neither," because I do think the Buss family will meet most offers that aren't over the top high. If someone throws 5 and 50 at Ariza, he's gone. That's not Kobe's fault, or the team's. What Kobe can do is provide the team flexibility to go a million more here, or a million more there. To have more wiggle room before they hit their proverbial drop dead number for payroll...

Hope that answers your questions. They're certainly good ones. If not, hit me back.

BK

One last thing, because a couple people have asked-

The main reason I think it's reasonable for the organization to set a (high, high, high) limit to the payroll is that fundamentally it is Dr. Buss who fields the risk. Even if Kobe gives back 10% (13.5 mil) he's guaranteed to get over $120. If he tears up a knee or loses two seasons to injury or whatever, he gets the money. If Dr. Buss commits to a 90 million payroll next year and down the line, he's paying it whether the team does well or not financially. Maybe the economy tanks again, maybe injuries cost the team a couple seasons, or whatever. The players get the cash no matter what, the league collects luxury tax no matter what.

In all likelihood, everyone can come out ahead here. We are, after all, talking about a bunch of very wealthy, very talented, very smart people. The team continues to have success, the players profit, the team profits. But it's ownership that fields the risk, which is why I think it's reasonable for them to have an "upper limit," as long as they're doing all that is reasonably possible to keep a winning product on the floor. I think history shows Dr. Buss will do that.

BK

puddle

u are so wrong on so many levels. what exactly is so bad about scrutinizing BK and his motives or questioning the real reason of his clear and apparent hate for kobe? no ones getting personal here so pipe down dude.

but this just aint ANY blog. how dare you?? this is THE lakers blog and you know the K bros have made quite a name for themselves when tj simers is calling you out or when you get behind the stage access to interview the players face to face (btw that was a compliment BK).... i enjoy reading their posts. great writing and very informative but it drives me nuts when their writing wreaks of biased journalism.

therefore as laker journalists shouldnt they should be held to the same standard as every other journalist u guys always throw under the bus? (though i would never compare them to scumbags like simers and plashke) i know this blog is like a family to some people so sorry if i've offended your knight in a shining armour (pls detect sarcasm) but is kissing the ground BK walks on a requirement for posting here (more sarcasm). sorry if i disagree but like you said i am stating my opinion and not everyone has to share it.


Since you own this blog you're free to discuss on any events that you wish but it's wrong timing and irrelevant. I'm having a Lakers Blog relapse discussing or preempt on events that has not occurred. In law, that's called hearsay. To have a debate on whether he opts out for more or opts out for less money without any end or resolution is just crazy for people who have nothing to do because it has not occurred yet It is the work of junkies or using the word of LakerTom, exploiting the opinions of lakerholics. Let it be, they are adults to decide on their fate. Such Laker passion does not jibe with Championship achievement this year. Because there is no point of satiety from everyone.

Don't even bother to answer this post. I'm out. See you next season.

yellowfever

You wrote this:

"what exactly is so bad about scrutinizing BK and his motives or questioning the real reason of his clear and apparent hate for kobe?"

To take from his writing that BK hates Kobe takes an unrealistic and illogical leap. *Nothing he's written indicates hate. Nothing. Criticism does not equal hate.

To accuse a writer of hate and being biased to the degree that you have is an all out attack on their character and integrity.

BK has written clearly that if there's *anyone* who deserved max money, it's Kobe. How, in the name of all that is good, is that hate?

The reason why your attack riles me so much is because it fails to use any reason/logic... you attack BK as a "hater" thus disqualifying anything he writes. It's an old trick.. called "ad hominem" or "to argue against the man".

You can't put up a rational argument against his opinion, so you attack BK. It's ugly and wrong. You're free to do it here, of course.. we exchange and share ideas.. and that means you can be open to another opinion without trying to tear down a man's integrity.

Damn.

Let's say Kobe opts out and takes less so it is easier for the Lakers to re-sign Lamar and Trevor. That in no way guarantees a repeat or a three-peat. Otherwise there would be no reason to play the 2009-2010 season. David Stern could just call Jerry Buss and say, keep the trophy an extra year.

Kobe is already an automatic Hall-of-Famer. His legacy is assured, whether the Lakers re-sign Lamar and Trevor or not.

Whatever's going to play out will do so without any input from us diehard Lakerholics. I'm much more concerned with what I'm going to do to get a life between now and the time Lakers camp opens, whomever is on the roster, no matter how much money anyone is making. As you can see, I'm not making much progress or I wouldn't be posting tonight. Whatever. Go Lakers!

SD32,

You are completely missing my point.

Nobody is debating that Buss is not a great owner. He obviously is. I love the team(s) he has put together, and I am confident that he will re-sign Ariza, Lamar and Brown. If Kobe takes a paycut, more power to him, but I'm not going to question his desire to win or accuse him of being selfish if he signs for the max, especially since he earns his paycheck more than any other player in the league.

The issue I have is that BK, AK and others are singling out Kobe for criticism if he does not take a paycut. They are directly linking Kobe's paycut to management's ability to sign Trevor and Lamar, which I find ridiculously unfair. Sure they diplomatically argue that it's everyone's responsibility, but at the same time, Kobe is the only one being labeled as selfish and having his desire to win questioned as a result. These accusations are absurd and biased and wreaks of Kobe haterade.

If Phil does not volunteer to take a paycut, it would be absurd to accuse Phil of being selfish or question his desire to win. BK and AK would NEVER throw these ridiculous accusations towards Phil, Kupchack or ownership. But when it comes to Kobe, they seem pretty trigger happy.

Kobe certainly doesn't "owe" the Lakers a smaller contract, just like the Lakers don't "owe" Kobe a max deal.

But it is reasonable for both of them to give a little when it comes to trying for additional titles.

Posted by: exhelodrvr | June 26, 2009 at 01:05 PM

==================
Very well said. Excellant!!!

Winning at Basketball may be extremely important to Kobe but, It comes in second to his desire and intention to provide for his family, his daughters and their future. Not only through their formative years but beyond through their lifetime. Given the very real possibility of injury, illness or many other experiences life throws at us, I would guess Kobe feels the need, at this point in time, to ensure a sound, rich and comfortable life for his family before considering the pitfalls of the lakers not signing LO, TA and UPS for our next drive to another NBA championship. What ever he does or doesn't do, he will have my support as does Jerry Buss and the Lakers.

P Ang,

That depends. Is it a zombie horse?

Posted by: Faith | June 26, 2009 at 06:07 PM

===================
LOL Priceless!!

BK,
I agree if Kobe takes less, we can use it later on to fill any needs that may arise.. But salary cap wise we are screwed anyways..I think Kobe wont opt-out this year..So for the 2010-11 season we are already committed to nearly 68 mill $(with Kobe's current contract).. and this is excluding the contracts which LO,Trevor and Shannon get this year.. So hypothetically let us tell that those 3 combined earn 15 mill $ for the 10-11 season.. so thats 83 mill $ for 8 players!! I don care how less Kobe takes in the contract he signs next year , salary cap wise we are screwed mightily and we are even more screwed if the salary cap and luxury tax limit reduces due to this awful economy..

LGFI

My final post on this topic:

First off, Phil Jackson has earned his paycheck. He brought us 4 rings, the most recent one while barely being able to walk. If Phil does not volunteer to take a paycut to help sign Ariza and Lamar, is he selfish, is winning not a priority to him, should he be criticized? These questions are just as absurd as the questions addressed to Kobe.

Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | June 26, 2009 at 06:48 PM

================
PJ should take a paycut and give money to Kobe.

PJ was a loser for 7 years failing to win with his non coaching or poor coaching decisions (substitution patterns etc)

Until finals this year he did very little coaching and let Kobe coach for him. Sure let PJ take a cut and make Kobe happy doing PJ's job for him.

Laker Truth.

Wrong. If LO or Ariza take *slightly more money to move to another team, I'll be happy to question their motives. Happy. I put them in the same exact boat as Kobe. The fact is that they haven't signed anything yet, and these writers and many others have acknowledged that they might have to take less to stay with the Lakers and hope that they do.

Phil's in the last year of his contract. If he was in negotiations, I would say the same thing. And yes they *have said the organization should do it. What do you not get about the fact that the luxury tax is a *very expensive penalty? Dollar for dollar! It would be easy for Buss to pocket *all the money, let LO and Ariza walk and sign cheaper journeymen. Bruce Bowen and Joe Smith could be signed for the veteran's minimum, surely... *and they Lakers could have kept the picks they traded.

But Buss is willing to spend extra. By not acknowledging that the brothers have mentioned Buss spending more and that LO and Ariza might have to take less to stay.. you're being intellectually dishonest. Flat out. They've written it.. you just ignore when they do.

Lakers administration made tons of money the past two seasons with the team on the finals, so why no use it to keep the team together?

[ that is the intent on part of the profit but other expenses include overhead on Staples etc. who pays the bills? Dr Buss.]

What about losing teams? how they can pay their roster? they surely can do it without the revenues of a successful franchise like the Lakers -in the middle of a city with big hollywood stars and people with money- with a less powerful marketing machine and less possible buyers.

[ But that is exactly how they help pay their roster. Its called a luxury tax. Lakers still have to pay it so other owners can stay afloat.]

We have the monetary tools to pay Kobe and resign our FAs, and even pay another good player, so why be like Scrooge?
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, AND WE CAN SPEND MONEY TO REMAIN THAT WAY

[ We are the Lakers and being very generous in our pay with JB paying luxury tax as he does not have to. Could be worse and Sterling as our owner. We also as Lakers have to keep the organization strong as like all super stars their run will eventually end with time and Lakers need to keep an eye on future.]

GO LAKERS!!

Posted by: MrNano | June 26, 2009 at 06:59 PM

I forgot to add there is another option available to sign all to whatever it takes. Kobe, LO, TA and SB all make all the money they can. Lakers pay it all with no help from FA's taking less. It can be done.

Ah but the kicker, since all above did not contribute, who then picks up the tab? Look in the mirror for answer. Ticket prices, merchandizing, parking and food go up.

Now raise your hands and say I'm all for that, GO Lakers!!!

Yeah right just as I thought. its a business decision.

Yellofever-

You're absolutely right that you can and should challenge the points I make, though in this particular case I think you're making leaps in your assumptions because you want to "protect" or defend Kobe. Which is totally your right. Speaking more generally, I really can't stand the term hater, because I think it's tossed around far too liberally. I've been very complimentary of Kobe often over the time I've done the blog, and critical in others. But my opinons are mine, and aren't motivated by protecting the organization, protecting individual players, or whatever.

Laker Guru-

Your last comment kind of gets to my central point- the Lakers are, if they bring back TA, LO, and Brown, are committing themselves to a huge payroll, with another massive check on top of that for the luxury tax. More with the cap/tax line going down. That's why they're selling picks, that's why they're making trades like the Vlad Rad deal and essentially selling Chris Mihm. And that's why 10 mil left on the table is so valuable- it's really 20. 15 is 30, and so on.

Some of this is just philosophical. I have a great admiration for people who use the flexibility of great wealth to "purchase" that which makes them happy or fulfilled, even if it actually costs them money or the opportunity to create further profit.

BK

>>>I don't understand how you can make an argument on
>>>Kobe's salary without hard statistics on what Buss/Laker
>>>Franchise puts in his/their pockets.
>>>
>>>How can a meaningful argument be made without that
>>>information?

Well, it's a few years out of date, but...

http://tinyurl.com/rb573y

According to Forbes, in 2005 the Lakers operating income
was 38.2 million. They were paying quite a bit less in income
and weren't paying luxury taxes back then, but they were
also playing less playoff games, which produce some extra
revenues..

Last summer I did a ballpark attempt at estimating at what
level of salary would the Lakers be LOSING money for Jerry
Buss. I think it came out to somewhere around 105 million or
110 million.

So if the salaries get to 90 million and they win a championship
and play a bunch of playoff games, then Buss still makes
more than Kobe. Which is appropriate. But if it gets to around
95 million, then Kobe is making more money than Buss.

And if the salaries are 90 million and the Lakers lost in the
first round (let's say Kobe and Pau both broke their legs in
the last week of the season), then Buss would be losing
lots of money.

So much as some of you may think the owner should just spend
like it's going out of style to keep their players and please their
superstar, it's just unrealistic.

Kobe is going to make a lot of money next year, regardless
of whether he keeps his current contract or opts out and takes
less or opts out and extends for more. If he takes less, it means
the difference between 23 million and 20 million.

If Buss goes overboard on salary, it's not the difference between
23 million and 20 million, it's the difference between making
20 million and LOSING 20 million. And paying Lamar and Trevor
and Shannon what they deserve will put Buss a lot closer to
that profit/loss line. That's why the cash for picks was good,
as it moves the profit/loss threshold just a little higher.

Would you ask Kobe to gamble on losing money instead of
making it next season? Then why would you ask Buss to
do so?

BK,

In order for Kobe (if I were him) to even consider taking less money, LO, Ariza and Brown must already be signed. He doesn't want what happened to Baron Davis to happen to him. Davis moved based on some dude's promise and that dude reneged and went somewhere else.

Kobe should not accept less money to improve the chances to signing LO and Ariza. No player should even be aware that Kobe is considering such a move until they've already made their decisions and inked their deals. That way Kobe has to make only the smallest possible "sacrifice".

But, since you referenced the Forbes article, Buss is still making twice what Kobe does every year (as he should, he really should be making more), So, there appears to be a LOT of wiggle room between these two gentlemen.

Kobe getting max money for a two- or three-title-run isn't really going to hurt that profit much. At least on a per-year basis. The considerations are higher if you look over the 5-year life of the contract, of course.

So, the question is really one of balance. How much more does Kobe think Buss should make? How much more than Kobe does Buss think he should make himself?

Also, who's to say that the Halo Effect of Kobe signing max dollars, then both LO and Ariza and Brown getting healthy contracts are are supremely happy, and the Lakers fans seeing this unfold over the summer wouldn't ultimately lead to Buss' profit margin increasing? More income from all ancillary sources is almost a guarantee, you know.

This is another game of Poker, ladies and gentlemen. And most of us reading this don't have the wherewithal to ante into this game.

--Fearless

And right after I posted about the Forbes thing, someone posted
the Forbes numbers for the 2007-08 season.

In that season (going to the finals vs Boston), the operating
revenues were $47.9 million. That season they were paying
about 74 million in player salaries & luxury tax (they were just
barely over the luxury tax threshold).

So for a ballpark figure, divide 47.9 million by 2 and add it
to 74 million. That comes out to 97.5 million.

97.5 million. It's lower than I thought.

That's the total of player salaries where Buss starts losing
money even if the Lakers make it to the finals.

Right now they're at 74 million before re-signing their free
agents. Let's say Lamar starts at 7, Trevor starts at 6, and
Shannon settles for 2. Those are what I think are the low end
of what those players would accept, and that still puts the
total salary at 89 million.

At that figure, if the Lakers lost in the first round, Buss loses
money. So whether Kobe opts out or not, Buss will be taking
a gamble next season if he wants to keep all three of those
guys.

Oh, and if they sign all three for those numbers, then Kobe
will likely be making more than Buss next season, regardless
of how the team does.

"They've written it.. you just ignore when they do. "

"Phil's in the last year of his contract. If he was in negotiations, I would say the same thing. And yes they *have said the organization should do it. What do you not get about the fact that the luxury tax is a *very expensive penalty? Dollar for dollar! It would be easy for Buss to pocket *all the money, let LO and Ariza walk and sign cheaper journeymen. Bruce Bowen and Joe Smith could be signed for the veteran's minimum, surely... *and they Lakers could have kept the picks they traded."

WELL SAID SAN DIEGO! HIT THE REAL *TRUTH* INTO THE BANDWAGON KISS THE GROUND HE TOUCHES KOBE BRYANT FANS THAT ARE NOT LAKER FANS. !

"Such Laker passion does not jibe with Championship achievement this year. Because there is no point of satiety from everyone. "

Sorry Edwin but the fair weather fans now come up and act like if they were the freaking sport agent of Kobe Bryant. Get a grip these fair weather fools should get.

Basically you got the (Kobe Bryant is perfect even if he misses 30 shots and Bynum is already better than Kareem because he got taught by Kareem etc.) on one side and the Trolls which we already experienced on the other. Sadly the middle ground where true Laker fans are who can see the good and can accept the BAD of their favorite player is still not in peace. This summer was supposed to be a summer of enjoyment but hey the Kobe Bryant Sport Agents now pop up and even a slight negative thing that they disagree with will go out on a slur campaign calling people 'haters".

yo pissed dude in san diego,

for the last week and a half this topic has been tossed around and beaten to the pulp countless times. kobe has stated to the press on several occasions that HE IS CLEARLY NOT OPTING OUT. now i ask you this: why are we still on this topic?? its beyond me why anyone knowing this especially someone of BKs stature cannot drop this and bury the hatched unless they had an axe to grind?? call it leap of faith if it will help you sleep better at night but my point is if the end DOES NOT justify the means and consequentially nothing good or fruitful will come out of it what is the whole point of blowing this up? it becomes nothing but pure DRAMA (just the stuff journalists kill for) and with that as much as you deny will build nothing but resentment towards kobes as his time window to opt out closes down..

on a business level to ask your GOOSE THAT LAYS YOUR GOLDEN EGG to take a paycut when those profits will flow back down to ownership is just so wrong in principle. on a personal level for a man who just worked his butt off and earned us that ring to ask to take a paycut is just utter disrespect.

not that anyone cares but this is really my last post on this

 
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