The Los Angeles Lakers had big plans as free agency opened and earned meetings with both Carmelo Anthony and the agent for LeBron James, Rich Paul. Anthony wound up re-signing with the New York Knicks while James left the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many believe the bloated salary of Lakers’ star guard Kobe Bryant is one of the reasons the Lakers didn’t land a top-notch free agent.
His salary hinders that opportunity, obviously. In a scenario where he took a Dirk Nowitzki-style pay cut, it’s possible last summer would have played out differently. As to whether Kobe Bryant the player/teammate hinders their opportunity, I think that’s tougher to argue given the stars who have gone to L.A. in the past.
Of course because of their brand, the Lakers didn’t have a big problem giving Bryant this giant contract.
Bryant averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 42.5% from the field, 18.8% from beyond the arc and 85.7% from the free throw line last season. Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets (New Orleans Pelicans) with the 13th-overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft and dealt to the Lakers. He has spent all 18 of his NBA seasons in Los Angeles. In his career, he has put up 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45.4% from the field, 33.5% from three and 83.8% from the charity stripe.
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