L.A. Times: Then there’s that other guy on the Lakers who might become a free agent next summer.
With all the recent talk about Andrew Bynum’s contract status, little attention has been paid to Kobe Bryant’s possibilities after this season.
Talk about options. Bryant has many, all of which lead to a win-win financial situation for him.
First, the hard facts: Bryant will earn $21.3 million this season and then have two years left on his Lakers contract for an additional $47.8 million.
Now for the interesting part.
He could play out the remaining years on his contract and become a free agent in July 2011, the most doubtful scenario because he’ll be closing in on his 33rd birthday at that point. He’ll want some end-of-career job security before then.
More likely, he will terminate his contract next July and become an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any NBA team for up to five years.
The Lakers could then offer Bryant about $135 million over five years, while other teams could offer about $129.5 million over the same time period. (The league’s collective bargaining agreement allows most free agents to sign contracts of up to six years unless they turn 36 during the contract, which is why Bryant can sign for only five years.)