Kobe Bryant's Contract Extension: Smart or Completely Stupid?
As of yesterday, Los Angeles Laker management decided to make Kobe Bean Bryant an offer he couldn't refuse.
With his current contract expiring, Kobe was offered $48.5million over the next two years. Naturally, Kobe accepted.
Is this a smart or completely asinine move by Laker managment?
With the holiday season upon us, let's take the naughty or nice approach to assess this current situation, not only for Kobe, but for the Los Angelos Lakers, as well.
Now, first and foremost, I will never criticize a person for accepting a lucrative offer unless there's some kind of malicious and/or devious string set attached to said contract. Of all the professional athletes within the NBA spectrum, Kobe is certainly deserving of this extension, given his contributions both on and off the basketball court. He's an international icon who has not only helped USA Basketball reclaim its universal dominance but has been the focal point of the Lakers, winning five championship rings over his illustrious 17-year career.
So, you really can't blame Kobe for accepting this deal.
However, the question lies within the limits of the Lakers progression as a whole -- specifically long-term -- to not only sustain their competitive nature but be successful while doing so. Is this extension a mere reward for a phenomenal player whose career won't easily be replicated? Or is this extension for the betterment of the team, hoping to improve its chance to remain competitive over the next three seasons?
From an economic standpoint, this extension seems nonsensical. You're offering an aging superstar, on the downward slope of his magical career, an extension when you know you're restricted, cap-wise, in future player transactions. This limits the Lakers' capability to woo budding stars to Los Angeles, let alone surround Kobe with fully competent complementary players. It's a short-term move which only rewards a special player with an astronomical amount of money for what he's already done for this organization, and that's it.
Kobe would never admit he agreed to this deal for the money alone. He wants to come back, fully healthy from that dehabilitating achilles injury, and showcase his skillset for three more seasons. He's too prideful to admit that this is an idiotic move on his part. He'll never win another championship because the Lakers can't wheel and deal like they could if he would have agreed to a moderate deal.
Instead of taking the Tom Brady and Tim Duncan route, Kobe went for the cash. Again, on a base level, who can blame him? If I was in his position, I would, too. But how much Lakers dosh has he already banked in nearly two decades? There's no way this deal is for the betterment of his teammates and the Laker organization as a whole.
It seems like Kobe is leaning towards the 'naughty' list. If he really wanted to compete once again and reign supreme, he would have worked out a deal that would have allowed the Laker management the financial flexibility to attract some budding NBA talent. Instead, he took the selfish route and is sitting pretty, smiling from ear to ear because the Lakers decided to offer him one last lucrative contract as a lifetime achievement award.
Let me reiterate, I don't blame him. But Lakers fans might.