The Los Angeles Lakers had hoped that the lure of playing alongside Kobe Bryant in Southern California for one of the NBA’s most proud franchises would be enough to lure a top-flight free agent this offseason.
They tried, as the team not only phoned LeBron James’ representatives but also gave Carmelo Anthony a personal tour of the Lakers’ complex. Alas, it wasn’t enough as both James and Anthony spurred the Lakers and left the franchise with nothing more than a hefty amount of salary cap to spend.
In the end the Lakers did bring in Jeremy Lin thanks to that abundance of cap space, but that’s not exactly the type of franchise altering move many were hoping for. Might the Kobe Bryant contract be reason for it? The Black Mamba himself says his $23 million dollar salary this season ($30 million last year) isn’t to blame for some of the Los Angeles Lakers woes, though Basketball Insiders doesn’t appear to agree.
Answering a fan question, Nate Duncan agreed that Kobe Bryant’s contract extension was one of the franchises worst decisions in recent memory.
And you are right, most of those moves were pretty bad, the Kobe extension being the most egregious of those.
On the surface that seems to ring true, though in fairness to the Los Angeles Lakers they didn’t have much of a choice. Are you going to let Kobe Bryant walk away from your franchise? It’s easy to suggest doing so, but actually letting it happen is a completely different scenario.
In a perfect world Kobe Bryant would have accepted a very small deal ($8-$10 million per season) allowing the Lakers to bring in significant talent around him, but that didn’t happen and now the franchise is struggling to add talent thanks to Kobe’s hefty salary.