When Kobe Bryant signed his two-year extension last year, many people were disappointed as they had hoped Kobe would take less than what he did in order to allow the Lakers the most cap room possible to sign new free agents.
One player who took far less than he is worth is Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki. Even though others have taken less money, Kobe still believes that his extension was a discount according to Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times:
Kobe on still-scrutinized $48.5M contract: "Did I take a discount? Yeah. Did I take as big a discount as some fans would want me to? No."
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 21, 2014
Kobe once again pointed to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was agreed to as giving the owners the advantage over the players according to the OC Register’s Bill Oram:
This a.m. in Dallas, Kobe again defended his contract, calling it a “coup” for owners if public perception favors stars taking pay cuts.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) November 21, 2014
Kobe’s point about the CBA is spot on. It requires the best players to take less money otherwise they are labeled as selfish players who don’t really care about winning. Kobe and the Lakers have also pointed out that the Lakers had max cap room regardless of his contract, and the team will have around $30 million in space this coming off-season as well.
Players like Nowitzki or Tim Duncan who play in lesser markets and have taken less money are looked at as good examples. Kobe wanted to be paid what he deserved and the Lakers gave it to him. Whether it truly hinders the Lakers ability to compete remains to be seen.
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