After the Los Angeles Lakers signed Kobe Bryant to a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million back in November, a lot of people were surprised and baffled that the team would invest so much money in an injured superstar with an uncertain future.
The consensus was that the team re-signed the future Hall of Famer out of respect for everything that Kobe had done for the franchise. Not to mention the fact that Kobe staying in Los Angeles guarantees ticket sales and merchandise continuing to fly off the shelves for at least another two years, if he’s able to stay healthy.
Along with all the criticism about Kobe’s new deal from NBA analysts, former players like Magic Johnson and even Phil Jackson, one current superstar in a similar position has also chimed in on Kobe’s enormous contract.
Dirk Nowitzki will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and vows not to take Kobe’s approach in contract talks with the Dallas Mavericks. Nowitzki takes a somewhat subtle shot at Kobe for not putting the team ahead of his own need for a lucrative deal according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:
“We want to get better as a team,” Nowitzki said. “And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to sign Kobe’s deal – unfortunately (Bryant signed a two-year, $48-million extension).
“We’ll find a good way where I feel respected for what I did and we still have enough money left for us to get great players in here. Cubes has been great to me and been loyal to me for a long, long time. I’m sure we’re going to find a great solution for everybody.”
Basically, Nowitzki is willing to live with the enormous amount of money he’s made over the course of his career in an effort to sacrifice for the team. Nowitzki, like other stars at an advanced age, is willing to take a pay cut to help bring in talented players in order to get the Mavericks back to title-contending status in the final years of his career.
It remains to be seen how things will pan out for both players in the twilight of their careers. Nowitzki’s approach is noble, but it may not produce results. Kobe, on the other hand, is trying to get paid what he’s worth while banking on the attractive destination of Los Angeles and the Lakers franchise to lure in big-names.
In a few years, we’ll know the answer in terms of whose approach paid off and if Nowitzki taking less money was truly the right way to go for the German superstar.
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