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Every few weeks, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines surrounding the Lakers. In this week’s State of the Nation, they answer five questions that will ultimately decide the fate of the Lakers.
Do you think it was the right decision to sign Kobe Bryant to an extension before returning from his Achilles injury?
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Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia: Yes. Of course it was, regardless of what he looks like when he comes back it was a smart move to sign him to this extension. Kobe Bryant will still be Kobe Bryant, just maybe a bit slower or less explosive, smart move by the Lakers brass.
Oren Levy // @LakersOren: Yes. They most likely prevented any other team from ever being able to sell Kobe Bryant merchandise, and ensured that Kobe is the longest tenured player with a single franchise ever. Right move. Now, the dollar amount.
Johnny Navarrette // @JohnnyNav: It’s definitely a risk, but considering what team doctors are saying and Kobe’s ability to adjust his game throughout the years, it’s a calculated risk that the Lakers are able to take. It’s important to remember that the Achilles will be stronger than ever and when it comes to Kobe’s skill level, there should be little doubt about what he can do.
Alik Ourfalian // @alik_o: Absolutely. Kobe is the face of this franchise. It would be wrong for him to retire anywhere else. They’ve seen him at practice and they know what he’s capable of, so there would be no point in waiting for him to return. Kobe has played through injuries before, from playing an entire season with a broken finger on his shooting hand, to playing with a severely sprained ankle. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before.
Jory Dreher // @Jay_Laker: Without question. I feel the Lakers did the right thing regarding Kobe’s extension. Dr. Jerry Buss would’ve done the same thing as well.
Belal Abdelfattah // @ItsBelal_A: This is something we probably won’t be able to answer for sure until next summer at the earliest, but personally I think it was the right move. When a player brings you five championships and over 17 seasons of excellence, you reward him with faith. People can overreact and rush to opinion on this, but we should all at least give Kobe the benefit of the doubt, he’s earned that.
Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG: Yes – firstly, you don’t want to go the entire season with this looming over Kobe, the team or management. With the Lakers facing so many uncertainties the last few, not to mention upcoming, seasons, Kobe is the surest bet they have available. I’m giving Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss the benefit of the doubt here as far as Kobe’s performance after the injury goes. They’ve obviously seen him rehab, practice and work out more than any outsiders have so they must be optimistic about his return to form.
Ashkan Kargaran // @aakargaran: Of course not, but this is Kobe Bean Bryant we’re talking about and at this point he can end his career which ever way he chooses.
Robert Benitez // @beeb0: I don’t think it matters. If given the opportunity to sign Kobe Bryant, you sign Kobe Bryant. I don’t think anyone expects Kobe to return and be anything less than great so the timing of the contract extension is moot. The price on the other hand, that’s a different story.
Felipe Amaral // @f_amaral: Business-wise, it wasn’t. A general manager would want to wait and see how a player returning from such a serious injury would look on the court before committing any extra money to him. But Kobe Bryant is a special case for the Lakers. For everything he’s done for the franchise, he deserves this huge vote of confidence by the team’s front office.
Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_: No, but this is Kobe we’re talking about, the odds are definitely against him. If there was a 35-year-old who could come back from this injury and still dominate, it would be Kobe. The Lakers got it out the way and don’t have to deal with it all offseason.
Kanta Ito // @Kanta_B_Ito: Yes. The best medical team and training staff in the world surround Kobe and has followed him wherever he goes 24/7 to help him return to the court at 100% performance level. Furthermore, Kobe’s work ethic and determination made it easier for the Lakers Organization to sign him before he makes his season debut to show him gratitude and appreciation for the impact he has made to the Lakers Organization for the last 17 years.
Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII: I believe that the Lakers could have waited longer yes but if they were going to do it anyway then it was best to do so now. Plus it allows them to then know what they will be working with salary cap wise moving forward.
Jordan Grant // @JordanGrant90: I don’t believe it was. While our management has fully earned my trust and respect over the years, I don’t see the benefit in this one. It’s not that I don’t see Kobe coming back in full force, I just don’t see any reason not to wait and see him play. Maybe we’re missing something here.
Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo: It was right only in the sense of loyalty, respect, & rewarding a superstar for a stellar career. Let’s face it, if it was Steve Nash, do you think this happens?
Kayla Lombardo // @KaylaLombardo11: Yes, because Kobe Bryant is a franchise player who has proven that he can live up to lofty contract expectations and perform under the bright Los Angeles lights, year after year. Not only is Kobe’s contract extension good for Kobe, but it is also good for the Lakers and the NBA, in general. It shows other young emerging stars that if they perform to a Kobe-caliber level, rewards will be in their futures. Say what you want about the business side of sports today, but what’s more American than working hard and seeing a return on your investment of time and effort?
Next Question: At about $24 million per year for the next two years, are the Lakers overpaying Bryant?