While Kobe Bryant has yet to return to the court, some unexpected (and GREAT) news broke early today from the Los Angeles Lakers:
EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Kobe Bryant to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.
“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” said Kupchak. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”
The expectation was that Kobe would enter free agency as the Lakers began to retool their roster with plenty of cap space this upcoming offseason. While many felt that he would ultimately return to the purple and gold, this is fantastic news for the organization and the fans, showing that the franchise player is not done quite yet as he searches for his sixth NBA title and the franchises quest for #17.
While there are no contract details available in the press release outside it being for two years, it is said that Kobe will be the highest paid player the next two seasons:
Kobe's contract will be $23.5 million and $25 million, source tells ESPNLA.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 25, 2013
The reaction amongst Lakers fans is that of excitement, but also some cautiousness with the amount. Here’s something important to remember. The Lakers will never be an under the cap franchise. They will add the pieces necessary to bring a title back to Los Angeles. Will they ever be around $100 million salary like they were last season?
Most likely not.
This franchise will pay the luxury tax when needed and one thing I know with this front office, they do not do this type of extension without a plan in mind. So stay tuned!
Follow LakerNation throughout the day for reaction and more details!