Carmelo is getting paid more than Kobe is on the Knicks max deal and he's the 5th best small forward in the league behind LeBron, Durant, George and (potentially) Leonard apparently =P Kobe was pretty much still the best shooting guard in the league and a top 3 player before the injury. Sans the injury we've yet to see what he can do when fully healthy. So we'll see this year if he plays up to it.
If he does I look forward to refreshing threads like this.
Understand this Chad. Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki only took paycuts when their career was at the tail end and they were no longer top 10 players in the league anymore. Kobe for all intents and purposes was the 3rd best at the very least if you put Durant and LeBron ahead of him.
We'll see next year if Kobe still has it. For all intents and purposes he should, and it is our duty of putting people around him that takes the pressure off of him a bit.
Lin does that because he can get his own shot, can pass and can finish inside and play the point competently and score.
We have Nick Young coming off the bench whom has shown the capability to be a scorer off the bench and be the bench leading scorer and that is going to help keep Kobe on the bench for longer periods of time which will help save Kobe's legs a bit.
On top of that we brought in our best interior defender and rebounder from last year in Jordan Hill, like it or not, and we get to pair him with another grit and hard worker in Julius Randle and are expecting them to help us from the second chance point of view. Hustle won't be an issue with those two.
Our starting 3 has yet to be resolved, but IF it's Xavier Henry, the kid is basically a fearless tank who will work hard on the defensive end and gives 100% effort every night, has more guts than brains sometimes but that's not a particularly bad thing.
And as I already said, Lin at the 1.
So basically what you've surrounded Kobe with is young talent that will take care of the hustle aspect as well as the hard work blue collar aspect of it and Kobe isn't gonna have to worry about them NOT giving an effort and would keep a winning attitude which is very important right now.
With the bench you'll likely have Kendall Marshall who can move the ball around as we already know, you'll have Jordan Clarkson whom is our rookie combo guard who will be looked at to score and create from time to time, at the three you'll have Nick Young, at the 4 Ryan Kelly and at the 5 Sacre(or Thompkins but that's my wishful thinking). But Marshall is capable enough as the 1 to get everyone involved to keep the bench offense from being stagnant.
But all and all that's a fine bench and retained our strongest pieces there with the exception of Bazemore.
Kobe is actually coming back to a stronger team than he had last year both from an effort standpoint and a youth standpoint. They don't have to be contenders right away but they need to continue to get better and that's the most important thing right now.
Our roster isn't one Kobe will have to play 40 minutes a night to keep afloat because of the bench he has and he won't have to worry about the effort or the "old" aspect as our starting lineup sans him is an average age of 23.2 and our bench age averages at 24.1
So Kobe is surrounded by a young team for all intents and purposes, they are no longer old as [expletive] as he called it. He's the oldest guy on the team and the oldest next to him is Nick Young who is 29. If you want to include Nash he'd be the oldest at 39 but he isn't going to play much if at all.
The Lakers plan right now is to create a young team and have Kobe as the veteran, and see what they can do with it and what additional pieces they can add to them. They also save enough cap space from off-season to off-season to make a run at a big time talent if they needed to, and still have enough to re-sign the guys that panned out in the previous year just in case they don't land anyone.
The Lakers are actually building the right way currently considering the free agency class in 2014, and now in 2015. It gives them a chance to sign these guys in the free agency class. I'd much rather keep the stronger pieces from last year while still keeping the flexibility to go after a Rondo, or a Deandre Jordan or a Marc Gasol in 2015 than waste all we had in 2014 on extremely long term contracts that takes us out of the free agency hunt till 2017. When you're a contending team you can do those kinds of things cause you aren't looking at a rebuild for a while in your mind. The Lakers are not in that position so they shouldn't act like it. And they aren't.
This is a very long and ridiculous post. The big crux of your argument is that Kobe is a top 3 player. Just making sure?