The Los Angeles Lakers continue to baffle NBA minds across the nation, as they have extended superstar guard Kobe Bryant through the 2015-16 season.
Bryant has long said he’d love to retire a Laker and the move makes Bryant a “Laker for life”, assuming he’d retire following the 2015-16 season. Then again, it’s also assuming he even plays to or through that season, as well.
On one side it’s a good move and even an expected one. It has L.A. keeping one of the game’s best players (last time we saw him, at least), and would easily help keep the Lakers at a competitive level. In the short-term, it likely won’t mean L.A. chases down a title or even makes a deep playoff run over the next 2-3 seasons, but it could possibly mean more big name free agents would be attracted to Los Angeles.
Taylor Smith, a blogger for the Los Angeles Clippers, notes the talk about Bryant being an ambassador for life and how it’s a good public relations move, but doesn’t understand why the Lakers are backing themselves into a corner. After all, signing Bryant for $48 million over his final two seasons soaks up 40% of their bankroll, and would almost certainly keep them from piecing together another title contender.
In reality, there’s a sound argument on both sides. If the Lakers were serious about winning right now or even in the next couple of seasons, holding onto Kobe’s legacy and rights probably wasn’t the best of moves. If they have a plan in place that involves Bryant returning to top form and playing out the deal while acquiring solid help around him, then it could be a question of who and when.
But on paper right now, at least, the move to make Bryant a “Laker for life” is likely to make current life for Lakers fans fairly tough.