Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Phil Jackson on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

First it was Kobe, now Phil Jackson.  Next week, Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic, and Sun Yue will stop by the studio.  (Or maybe not.) 

For anyone looking for a little more insight on Kobe's frog-on-a-lily-pad story, Phil has your back.

For the record, he calls his first Bulls title team and the '99-'00 Lakers the most talented he's coached.

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Rdlee / Bobie,

"He (Kobe) feels it is Buss' responsibility to bite the bullet and pay the players. He said "Buss has more money than me." I hope Buss comes through because we don't repeat w/o Lamar and Ariza.""

Some bloggers are focusing on Kobe's "high" salary, rather than the money Lakers ownership has. The Lakers are owned by the Busses, AEG (30% minority interest), and Magic Johnson (5%). Jerry Buss has more money than Kobe, AEG is the largest owner of sports in the world worth billions, and Magic's business ventures give him a net worth of almost a billion.

Kobe's salary might seem large, but his salary is actually a huge bargain for ownership. He generates more revenue for his team than any other NBA player. Ownership made $48 million on these playoffs alone. Imagine if Kobe was on a bottom dweller like the Thunder. The Thunder would be the most televised team in the NBA. Their TV and radio revenue, merchandising, corporate sponsorship, and ticket sales would go through the roof. Without Kobe, this Lakers squad, although talented, has the star power of the 2007 Memphis Grizzlies with Pau Gasol.

Perhaps we should be asking players that have NOT earned their salary to take a paycut (i.e. Luke and Sasha). But more realistically, the onus should be on ownership to pay Lamar and Ariza, not on Kobe.

John K,

Money is relative. A 3rd world country worker making $3/day or a min. wage earner in the US probably thinks the same about our salaries. There is no way I would voluntarily take a penny less so my boss who makes 5 times my salary can pocket more cash for himself. Would you?

"For the record, he calls his first Bulls title team and the '99-'00 Lakers the most talented he's coached."

1990-1991 Bulls Notable talent:

Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen
Horace Grant
John Paxson
Bill Cartwright
BJ Armstrong
Craig Hodges

One of the best, if not the best of all time, top 50 player, 2 future all stars, and a very good 3 point shooter who is currently an assistant coach for the Lakers.

vs.

1999-2000 LA Lakers Notable Players:

MVP level Shaquille O'Neal
Kobe Bryant
AC Green
Ron Harper
Brian Shaw
Derek Fisher
Glen Rice
Rick Fox
Robert Horry

Top 5 Centers of all time, up and coming currently 2nd best SG of all time, the Ironman, two veteran PG's, young Derek Fisher a very good shooter in Glen Rice, blue collar Foxy, and Big Shot Rob.

vs 2008-2009 LA Lakers notable players

Kobe Bryant
Pau Gasol
Lamar Odom
Trevor Ariza
Derek Fisher
Andrew Bynum

Currently the best player in the NBA, Top 5 big man currently, a good forward, up and coming SF, veteran PG and a potential franchise center.

In terms of overall talent:
1999-2000 LA Lakers>2008-2009 Lakers/1990-1991 Bulls (Potentially 2008-2009 or even later assuming everyone comes back could make it better than the Bulls)

For those who would use the argument of only 2 win difference and that was without Bynum I would make the argument that the last few games in 2000 we didn't play as hard to rest up Shaq and Kobe for the playoffs and had we kept playing them we could have won 69 games or even more.

Next year could be different but for right now I rank 1999-2000 team to be the best talent.

Being under a Phil column, this seemed the appropriate time for this...

An Open Letter to Phil Jackson:

I was wrong.

Earlier this year I openly questioned your methods in regards to the handling of this team.

I was wrong.

I truly felt that they needed more in-game input from you to succeed.

I was wrong.

I felt that your ego was getting in the way of player/team growth.

I was wrong.

I watched your actions after the Finals. I listened to your comments. This was the opportunity for you to take the bulk of the credit, especially in light of your record breaking performance.

Instead, you deflected praise from yourself to your players...in the locker room...in the post game...in the media since.

I know what it is like to have health problems impact your abilities...not only keeping you from doing the things you love...but also making even the most mundane tasks painful beyond belief.

It is my prayer that your health allows you to return to coach the Lakers next year...and for many years to come. If not, I hope that your health at the very least allows you mobilty, comfort and peace.

Thank you for the outstanding job of leading this team.

Once again...

I was wrong...

and I'm glad I was.

Respectfully,

Christopher Blake

Laker Truth,

When you are earning millions and above, the taxation takes about 50% so the net income is only 50%. Perhaps, that is the reason why we see NBA players get into charities to further slice the 50% taken out by IRS. Yes, JB may have a deep pocket but in a luxury tax scenario, whatever in excess of the threshold, the net effect of the increment is 100%. Supposing JB gets a bill of $150M expenses together with miscellaneous on Coaches and facilities, where will he pass that? - TO US, FANS in form of higher prices at Staples, higher cable fees, more premiums on any Laker related items. How about us? Where do we get the funds to pay this entertainment? From our meager income, cut back on hours, unemployment insurance, social security checks, others would just hang on and wait for the next parade etc. Now that they saw 250,000 fans showed up during the celebrations, the eyes of these myopic capitalists will grow wider - aha! there is a great demand there in LA, not knowing that 90% of those people there depend on freebies and social welfare. What part of "too much" is hard to understand? Therefore, my point here, everybody should cooperate in moving the Laker enterprise, this is like a huge ocean liner we need the help of everyone to unload or sacrifice something to reduce the stress of the ship including the feds in Mr. IRS. who always get a percentage of any loot and ultimate recipient of such sacrifice is Mr. Laker Fan, the prime mover or prime contributor on anything that is related to the Lakers.

THE OFFICIAL KOBE BRYANT FREE AGENCY PRIMER
by Larry Coon for RealGM.com

http://tinyurl.com/m5gpca

Everything you want to know about Kobe’s options in easy-to-understand prose.

Bottom line, the max the Lakers could offer Kobe if he opts out before July 1st would be $135M over 5 years, or any average of $27M per year. Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Gilbert Arenas, and Magic Johnson were all stars who took less so their teams would have more to pay other players. Coon feels Kobe won’t do that. I think Kobe will.

The reason I think so is that Kobe is a smart businessman who understands the value of his image, especially now that his services are back in demand as an Olympic and NBA champion. Last year, he earned $40M in endorsements alone, double the $20M in salary he received from the Lakers? Kobe is no fool. Taking $3M to $5M less each year to keep his team together would greatly enhance Kobe’s image and reap far more in return from endorsements and appreciation of his overall marketing worth.

Taking less is such an obvious WIN-WIN move that there is no way Kobe and his expert team of financial and public relations advisors are going to flub this one. Spend $3M to $5M and get back $30M to $50M in endorsements and commercials. Slam Dunk!

WATCH FOR IT: Kobe WILL take less to help the Lakers keep this team together.

Tom

KG and Tim Duncan took less money to extend their contracts, but Tim Duncan plays in a small market city and KG took less money to be traded from bottom dwelling Minnesota to Boston, who already had Pierce and Ray Allen.

Kobe, on the other hand, plays for one of the largest markets, and he does not have to worry about lowering his contract to move from a bottom dweller to a contender. Even if you compare KG and Duncan's lowered salaries to Kobe's normal salary, Kobe's salary is still a much better bargain for the owners when you take into account his star power and how much money he generates for the owners.

Top 10 highest salaried 2009 NBA players
1. Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics, forward): $24,751,934
2. Jermaine O’Neal (Toronto Raptors, forward/center): $21,372,000
3. Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks, guard): $21,372,000
4. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers, guard): $21,262,500
5. Tracy MacGrady (Houston Rockets, guard): $21,126,874
6. Stephon Marbury (New York Knicks, guard): $20,840,625 *
7. Allen Iverson (Detroit Pistons, guard): $20,840,625
8. Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs, forward/center): $20,598,704
9. Shaquille O’Neal (Phoenix Suns, center): $20,000,000 **
10. Steve Francis (Houston Rockets, guard): $18,364,480 ***

Agree LAKER TRUTH - the onus is on management to take the profits from this years Season and plow it back into the business. That would create the most goodwill and unity amongst the players - pay them ALL what they are worth. Reward them for their success.

I would be shocked if management actually had the balls and thought it would be a smart business decision to ask Bryant to take a paycut after the success of this season. The best player in the league, in his prime, coming off a championship where he had a leadership role in making that happen.

Say Bryant says 'NO' you have the potential to upset the good feeling and risk pissing him off. The media catches wind of it, and starts calling Bryant "selfish and greedy". "So&so had to leave the team because Bryant was greedy". Or whatever. I'm sure people like TJ Simers are licking their chops over this.

Or, say Bryant actually says 'YES' and the player he sacrificed for comes up short? Then what?

It sounds like a recipe for disaster (channeling Mark Jackson a bit there). Management needs to pay players what they are worth, period. I hope the Laker management does the right thing here.

doug

GREAT article by Kevin Ding (who in my oppinion is the best journalist covering the Lakers) about the whole "Kobe Bryant should take less" discussion.

http://tinyurl.com/lu8zzr

An excerpt:

"Yet Bryant is expected to do everything, including evaluating Buss' accounting ledgers and personally adjusting them.

It's ludicrous, but it has been a long-running national pastime for people to tell Bryant what he should be doing, so why stop now, right?"

My thoughts:
Would it be nice if he opted out for less? Sure. But its not something that should be expected. Some will point to KG, Duncan and Shaq, but those are completely different situations. The bottom line is, its not Kobe's job to make sure we keep this team intact. That's the job of management and ownership.

LG

LAKER TRUTH,

Money's not relative when your net value is in excess of a million United States dollars.

That's madly rich anywhere you go in the world.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Wes....Great work man...
I get to see Ingles 3 or 4 times a year..I dont know if he could cut it the NBA..In our league over here we get to have 2 imports per team..In some games i went to some of those imports gave him a good run.What needs to be taken into account is that these imports are all second round NBA draft picks..When Steven Jackson played over here the hype was big but he played shocking..2 years later he gets a ring with the Spurs..I dont think Ingles has NBA wing player speed..Ariza would eat him alive..Now think of all the other wing players that would destroy him...Just Saying.

KB Blitz,

I agree with you about the talent thing.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Laker Tom,

Nice posts as usual. Nobody is denying that taking a lower salary would be beneficial for Kobe's public image (and to his endorsements). What I have a problem with is that AK/BK and other fans are indirectly putting the onus on Kobe to sign Lamar and Ariza, instead of focusing on ownership. As Doug noted, a scenario is already being set that would imply that Kobe is selfish if he were to accept the max. deal, when in fact, he is actually being underpaid.

Laker Truth,

"Nobody is denying that taking a lower salary would be beneficial for Kobe's public image (and to his endorsements). What I have a problem with is that AK/BK and other fans are indirectly putting the onus on Kobe to sign Lamar and Ariza, instead of focusing on ownership."

BK and I both said Kobe's not truly obligated to take less than potential max. And you're right, ownership ultimately holds the final say. We're just stating the obvious, which is that the pros of Kobe taking less (easier to keep the team intact, increasing his odds at more rings, PR help, cementing his Laker legacy) greatly outweigh the cons (losing contract money he doesn't truly "need" while still drawing an enormous salary on top of endorsements). This is pretty tough to refute.

Honestly, the bottom line is this: If your first priority is the Lakers, you'll root for Kobe to take less. If your first priority is Kobe, you'll still root for him to less, because he needs a great team at this point in his career more than he needs the extra money. It feels like people indignant at Kobe taking less are trying to prove their Kobe "loyalty," but in reality, that's a shortsighted view.

AK

LoL at AK's usage of Kobe ' loyalty".. U are going to get major heat for that.. But the point i was making is that it should be a collective sacrifice by all.. Say a scenario in which Ariza accepts 5-6 mill average salary, LO accepts 7-8 mill and Kobe accepts 20-22 mill average which makes Dr.Buss pay a luxury tax of about 20 mill , that would be ideal..

LGFI

AK,

"BK and I both said Kobe's not truly obligated to take less than potential max."

TRULY obligated? It seems you are suggesting that he is obligated, but not truly obligated. Regardless, the fact is, he is not obligated whatsoever to lower his salary. If anything, Bynum, Sasha and Luke are more "obligated" to lower their salaries, based on their on-court and off-court contributions relative to their salaries thus far. What about Phil's $12 million salary? But I guess Kobe has always been a target for things he does and does not do. As Kevin Ding notes, why change now?

"This is pretty tough to refute."
"because he needs a great team at this point in his career more than he needs the extra money"

Nobody is refuting the potential benefits of lowering his salary. Again, my problem is that your views are indirectly putting the onus on Kobe to re-sign Lamar and Trevor, thereby creating a scenario where Kobe will come off as selfish for accepting a max. deal, when in actuality, he is being underpaid. Knowingly or not, you have directly linked Kobe's "NEED" for "extra money" to ownership's ability to sign Trevor and Lamar, which I find ridiculously unfair. Seriously, just that statement alone "need for extra money" suggests greediness. Has any other player in NBA history who has proven their worth (or more) been called out in such a fashion?

" It feels like people indignant at Kobe taking less are trying to prove their Kobe "loyalty," "

There you go again with your never-ending "Kobe-loyalist" accusations. Since you are a "Luke Loyalist", I will take that with a grain of salt.

Christopher Blake,

As a long time Phil supporter, I can only say thank you, and what a great post.

Welcome to the Phil fan club.

Tom D.

Laker Truth-

Again, it's not about being obligated, or not deserving what he can get, but understanding how making 24 or so million a season affects things relative to making, say, 20 or 21. It's not about comparing Kobe as a bargain to KG or Duncan or anyone else, but the ability for the Lakers to sign and keep other players.

Without expecting Dr. Buss to spend infinitely, something I don't think is fair, Kobe has to understand how each million he makes away from the max makes it easier for guys to come back.

BK

Laker Truth-

I said he wasn't obligated. I dind't add the "truly" qualifier in front of it, and wouldn't have. It's not the phrasing I'd have chosen. Not obligated means not obligated.

But I don't agree that there isn't a relationship to what Kobe makes and how much is left to pay other people.

BK

BK,

"But I don't agree that there isn't a relationship to what Kobe makes and how much is left to pay other people. "

Thanks for the response. I 100% agree with your take, but the same could be said for anyone else in the organization. I just find it unfair that Kobe is being singled out simply because he makes the most in salary. Buss makes more than Kobe, and unlike Kobe, there are players on the roster that are OVERPAID. Why would you single out the one player who is UNDERPAID?

Sincerely,

Kobe Loyalist
Magic Loyalist
Riley Loyalist
Kareem Loyalist
Worthy Loyalist
Laker Loyalist

Laker Truth-

I don't think Kobe is being singled out. People have asked Ariza and Odom repeatedly if they're willing to take less than they might get in other places to stay. The pressure is on Dr. Buss to continue to pay for a large salaried team, and he's already "sacrificing," if you want to call it that, in setting himself up to pay near-record amounts of money.

As to Kobe being underpaid, this may be true in the most absolute terms (meaning as one of the top players in the league, there are guys he's better than who make similar or more), but I have a lot of trouble calling him that. Even if he limited his yearly salary to, say, 17 million, which would represent a significant amount of money left on the table... he still makes 17 million a year, plus endorsements. It's hard to call him underpaid.

Not to get all populist here, but I just have trouble doing that. That's why comparisons some (not necessarily you, for sure) are making to "would you or I be asked to give money back...) don't really apply. A) there are plenty of industries in which yes, people are being asked to do that so others might keep their jobs, through furloughs or mandatory pay cuts, and b) you (I presume) and I (undoubtedly) don't make that kind of money. If I make 15% less than I could, it makes a significant impact on my family's life. If Kobe (or most pro ballers, it should be noted) make the same concession, the impact is less.

Not an apples to apples thing, you know?

It's a really interesting conversation, though. For sure.

BK

Laker Truth,

If you want to play a silly game of semantics, fine. I'll clarify my position so there's no ambiguity.

When I said Kobe wasn't "truly" obligated, I meant that in the most sincere sense, with no strings attached. I don't think he is in any way, shape or form, obligated to take a pay cut. I just he'd be smart to do so, and it's incredibly shortsighted to put money ahead of chance for titles, since he needs the latter more than the former and will make a boatload of money either way. But again, he is NOT OBLIGATED IN THE SLIGHTEST SENSE.

Does that make what I'm saying now crystal clear?

Having said that, Bynum, Walton and Sasha can't restructure their salaries to take a pay cut, because the CBA doesn't allow that. This isn't the NFL. By throwing that out as ammo, you're working with a false argument. If you want to claim those three are overpaid, fair enough. But that's also irrelevant, because it has nothing to do with the reality of this situation.

Also, you're overlooking that if LO and Ariza do stay here, they likely will end up taking less money than they could make elsewhere. Or at the very least, they might. Thus, I'm not asking anything of Kobe that I wouldn't ask of other players.

"Again, my problem is that your views are indirectly putting the onus on Kobe to re-sign Lamar and Trevor, thereby creating a scenario where Kobe will come off as selfish for accepting a max. deal, when in actuality, he is being underpaid. Knowingly or not, you have directly linked Kobe's "NEED" for "extra money" to ownership's ability to sign Trevor and Lamar, which I find ridiculously unfair. Seriously, just that statement alone "need for extra money" suggests greediness."

If you take exception with me putting it that way, that's your opinion, but it's unfortunately the case, whether you like it or not. What Kobe accepts directly affects this situation dramatically, because he's in a position to take up about 1/4 of the payroll himself. That's just a matter of fact and math. Taking less makes the process easier, and even you don't deny that. If Kobe decides to take the max possible, does that make him "greedy?" That's for whomever to decide, but it does become harder to take at face value claims that winning is always the first priority. I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways, particularly when it would be the second time he took a max deal knowing the team was hurting for cap space trying to build around him.

"Has any other player in NBA history who has proven their worth (or more) been called out in such a fashion?"

Maybe not, but that's also because there haven't been too many, if any, players in his position to compare against. On a championship team that's looking to resign key players with a high payroll already in place. He''s already made a boatload of money and opting OUT of an already lucrative contract to potentially bump his salary and extend the years. Name me someone else who's been in this position and skated. Otherwise, the question is moot to begin with.

AK

Here"s my take on the "pay cuts":

I think Ariza and Odom should try to get as big a salary as they can get, be it from the lakers or from some other team. They have proven themselves and have delivered the ultimate prize to their boss, a championship. And Kobe shouldn't even be hinted to take a pay cut as Phil Jackson did. Phil should give up some of the 12 mil he will get if he wants to keep the team together. But he shouldn't have to do that.

BK
"Without expecting Dr. Buss to spend infinitely, something I don't think is fair, Kobe has to understand how each million he makes away from the max makes it easier for guys to come back. "

We can expect anything we want from Dr. Buss but I believe Dr. Buss will do what makes business sense to him whether we expect it or not. If he has to pay 20 mil in luxury tax and it makes business sense to him (revenues will cover it with lots of leftover), he will do it.
Why are you making it like it's all up to Kobe for the guys to come back? Now if Ariza and/or Odom accept a favorable offer from other teams and leave, it's Kobe's fault and if they sign with the lakers then thank you Dr. buss for your generosity. It sucks to be Kobe and all because he strives to be the best he can be.

Everyone (AK/BK included),

Are you brewing another reason for people to hate on Kobe? Your suggestions that it is for Kobe's public image, Laker's legacy, not being selfish, wanting to win more that earning more, etc... only give haters reason to hate on Kobe when he decided to exercise his option and go for max salary. Please give Kobe a break, let him and the rest of the Lakers enjoy this championship. If that is your argument, is it safe to ask every Laker players then to take a pay cut for the sake of winning another championship? If they all agree, can they can all be paid retroactively for the pay cut if they do not repeat?

In life, there are no guarantees, just like what they always, no one is indispensible.

Great teams win championship because they utilized the resources they have in hand. I would like to see the entire squad for next season but if economics will not allow that to happen, I am not giving up on my belief that they will repeat no matter who is on that team. I believe in the Laker team because I am a Laker fan first, being Kobe fan becomes secondary.

AK,

"it's incredibly shortsighted to put money ahead of chance for titles"

Are you seriously questioning Kobe's desire to win titles? You are suggesting that if Kobe accepts his market value, he is putting money ahead of a chance for titles. What kind of a double standard is that? Shouldn't the same standard apply to ownership? If ownership is not willing to pay both Lamar and Ariza, according to your logic, aren't they putting money ahead of a chance for titles as well? I never heard you once say that if ownership refuses to take a cut in their profits, they care more about money than championships. I guess the double standard only applies to Kobe.

"If you want to claim those three are overpaid, fair enough. But that's also irrelevant, because it has nothing to do with the reality of this situation."

The reality of the situation is that every contract that was signed before 2009 has an effect on the team's ability to sign free agents this summer. I've been saying for years that Luke's untradeable contract will limit the team's ability to sign quality free agents. The fact that Kobe's contract extension happens to coincide with Lamar and Trevor's free agency does NOT mean that the onus is on Kobe to take a paycut for a "chance at rings". These contracts were signed by OWNERSHIP, not Kobe. Should Kobe have to take the hit for management's mistakes?

"if LO and Ariza do stay here, they likely will end up taking less money than they could make elsewhere. Or at the very least, they might. Thus, I'm not asking anything of Kobe that I wouldn't ask of other players."

Huh? Your main point was directed at Kobe, and the correlation between his paycut and the ability to sign Lamar and Ariza. I never heard you once say that if Lamar and Ariza don't take a paycut, they care more about money than titles. Again, I guess the double standard only applies to Kobe.

"If Kobe decides to take the max possible, does that make him "greedy?" That's for whomever to decide, but it does become harder to take at face value claims that winning is always the first priority."

Do you even realize how biased you sound? After all these years, if you are still questioning Kobe's desire to win titles, than I really don't know how to respond to that.

AK,

It is not up to Kobe to take a pay cut, the Buss have to decide how much they're willing to pay to continue to win championships period.

That you would even say the onerous in on Kobe means that you don't have a clue as to whose responsibility it is to continue the winning tradition and who stands to gain the most financially from keeping a winning team on the floor.

Why aren't you even discussing the Busses financial responsibilty in keeping or not keeping the team together as they do and will continue to make plenty of money.

Wow AK I usually think you're right on with your opinions but wow that you would make a statement that Kobe not taking less money says he's not committed to winning championships wow!

And he has enough money, do the Busses have enough money? Wow AK

breathing is the door that opens life! he may not be that funny of a guy, but he has some clarity and is deep!

right on Phil!!!


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...