State of the Nation: Kobe, D’Antoni, playoffs, and more

At about $24 million per year for the next two years, are the Lakers overpaying Kobe Bryant?

Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia: Yes and no.  Yes they are overpaying him for what he can offer a team at 35 years old. He’s simply not worth 24 million dollars a year but not to the point where this was an outrageous signing. This was more of a “legend” signing for all he’s done for the Lakers in the past and the legacy he leaves behind in LA when this contract is up.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren: Yes. In today’s NBA you need three stars to win championships (See Heat, Miami). Had the Lakers paid Kobe $20 million, they’d still have enough room for two max free agents. Now they don’t. No other team could contact Kobe until July, so the Lakers were bidding against themselves. The biggest sign they overpaid is that Kobe accepted the initial offer with no hesitation. As Kobe said, “this wasn’t a negotiation.”

Image: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

Image: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

Johnny Navarrette // @JohnnyNav: Slightly overpaid.  Contrary to popular belief, Kobe did in fact take a pay cut, it’s just not the unrealistic pay cut fans and media thought he would take.  The belief that the Lakers could get two max players this off-season was a nice dream, but that was never going to happen.  Personally, I rather “overpay” Kobe than overpay some other free agent not worthy of the money.

Alik Ourfalian // @alik_o: Maybe a little bit, but it’s important to note that Kobe had one of his best seasons last year before going down. Age certainly hasn’t slowed him down as much as it does to other players. His work ethic and dedication will insure that he will make a full comeback. It’s not a “waste” of money, as many people have said over the last few days. Kobe, along with a few additions this summer, can make this team a contender.

Jory Dreher // @Jay_Laker: No. Let’s not forget that Kobe himself was an upcoming free agent this summer; once you look at the pool of available players, outside of Carmelo who else is worth max dollars? LeBron? He’s not coming unless it’s to play a road game.

Belal Abdelfattah // @ItsBelal_A: The Lakers essentially had cap space for two max players, and this is them saying they want Kobe Bryant as one of their max guys. Is that a lot of money to be paying a player who will be in his 19th and 20th seasons during the extension? Maybe. But the revenue Kobe alone generates for the organization justifies his salary. Some might call it ridiculous, but when you realize the next highest-paid players are going to be Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, this contract looks great.

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBGKobe’s “worth” has been compared to the likes of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, who are considered old school players like himself. But someone made a good point on the radio, in that this comparison isn’t fair because up until his injury, Kobe was still producing far more than both Garnett and Duncan. He still performs at a high level, is still the cornerstone of the team’s success.

Ashkan Kargaran // @aakargaran: Absolutely. Kobe is not the best player in the league anymore, but he will still be paid as such. The Lakers will be breaking the bank not for production, but for the Lakers brand and legacy.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0: Yes and No. I have no doubt that Kobe Bryant is worth every penny, but at the same time it leaves us wondering what happened to the plan of going into this off season with all that cap space, sure Lakers still have enough for one more max contract, but knowing Kobe takes up 1/3 of the cap space doesn’t leave us with as bright a picture of the future as we once had. But as Kobe said, the front office knows things we don’t. #InMitchWeTrust

Felipe Amaral // @f_amaral: Yes, but who said it’s something that shouldn’t be done? Kobe might very well be the greatest Laker of all-time. He has played through basically any injury a player could have and never gave less than his all for the Purple and Gold. The Lakers are honoring Kobe’s history and essentially telling him that, no matter how bad an achilles tear might be, they still believe he can come back and perform at a high level.

Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_: Jay-Z once said, “men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.” Kobe had one of his greatest seasons last year and dominated the league. Bryant deserves every dollar and more to be honest with you; he could have asked for a max 30 million dollar contract. $48.5 million would still roughly give the Lakers 25-30 million dollars in free agency.

Kanta Ito // @Kanta_B_Ito: No. For everything he has given to the Lakers organization and it’s worldwide fan base throughout the world, Kobe is actually very underpaid. As mentioned in my article, Kobe’s willingness to return for less of a salary gives the opportunity to build a roster around him to win more NBA Championships.

Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII: No. Carmelo said it himself, he’s worth way more than that. It was a great deal for both sides as Kobe gets a chunk of what he is worth while helping the Lakers keep money to bring in another star player.

Jordan Grant // @JordanGrant90: Only time will tell. While I wish Kobe would have taken less to help save some cap room, nobody can really fault him for taking more. And as a lifelong Laker fan, it’s hard to say Kobe doesn’t deserve anything he’s earned.

Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo: They are probably overpaying, but the ROI is far greater than the risk. Kobe has a large following of fans in LA and he will keep the seats filled at STAPLES Center.

Kayla Lombardo // @KaylaLombardo11: No, the Lakers are not overpaying Kobe. As a result of the exorbitantly high contracts in the NBA today, anything less than $20+ million would have been a slap in Kobe’s face. Despite his “number 25” ranking, he is still considered one of the best players in the NBA, and maybe even more important than that, the single most valuable player to his team. Even if Kobe tanks over the next two years (which wouldn’t be possible even if he played on one healthy leg), the Lakers will make more money off of Kobe than they will spend during this time. He will put people in the seats, sell jerseys, and keep the world interested in the Lakers as long as he dons the purple and gold.

Next QuestionAt 8-8, which is identical to last season’s record after 16 games without Bryant or Nash, is it time to start giving coach Mike D’Antoni credit?

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Alex Lambeth is the Editor-in-Chief of LakerNation.com. He is currently a senior at University of San Diego studying business and marketing. Follow him for a unique perspective on all things Lakers.