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Kobe Bryant Discusses Financial Future With Lakers

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Kobe Bryant Dwight Howard’s departure left Lakers fans wondering what the future of the Lakers would entail. With the Lakers signing one-year veteran minimum deals this offseason, it’s accurate to say that the Lakers are preparing for rebuilding mode in 2014.  There’s one big problem. Would Kobe Bryant be willing to take a huge pay cut, possibly a one-year minimum salary worth $1.45 million, the ultimate financial sacrifice, to give the Lakers the best chance to rebuild?

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Not so fast. Kobe bleeds purple and gold, but he’s also a very smart businessman, who had this to say when describing his business hat come 2014.

“I’m not taking any at all – that’s the negotiation that you have to have.” Kobe Bryant told Lakers Nation  in an exclusive interview at his Kobe Basketball Academy on Wednesday. “For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut. Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can.”

If you were hoping Kobe would think about taking a minimum salary in 2014, think again. Both Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are examples of veterans who sacrificed more than half their salaries (not minimums) for their teams, but Kobe is a different breed – a financially savvy individual. Bryant also said the business side is always “strange” and “uncomfortable” for athletes, who find themselves in situations where they will get “backlashed, inevitably.”

Bryant though, isn’t afraid of the backlash, and he never has been. Both on and off the court, where others find themselves uncomfortable, Kobe thrives.

At the moment, Steve Nash is the only player on the books for the 2014-2015 season of rebuilding. A maximum salary for Bryant ($32 million) would not leave the Lakers with the necessary financial tools to truly rebuild, especially with potential free agents like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony available in one year’s time.

Don’t count out the idea of Kobe taking a pay cut, just don’t expect it to be as big as you were hoping.


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Serena Winters is the Lead Reporter for Lakers Nation. Besides out-eating the rest of the staff, she's most known for carrying snacks with her to all media events. Make sure to follow Serena on Twitter at @SerenaWinters

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  • JohnnyRussia

    All the money on Earth won’t get him that 6th ring.

    • BoycottWWE

      If he won’t take a pay cut then ya, have to agree.

  • Michael

    Nobody’s asking him to take the minimum at $1.4 million. Him & Pau just need to both take like $6M deals so we can bring in 2 other stars.

    • Joe K

      He said I’m not taking any at all. He wants as much as he can.

  • Frank Williams

    Why are they talking about monies right now! Kobe should get what he has already signed for. Play now and think about next season, next season. Let’s Go Lakers Let’s Go!!!

  • Jim213

    Shouldn’t have asked Kobe this … if that was SERENA asking him while holding the mic (if updated pic). It would be absurd for Kobe to be paid the minimum contract, in my opinion instead of the $30 million, $18-20 million would suffice with bonus incentives coming as long as they make the playoffs and proceed forward…

    • Joe K

      Read his quote. He doesn’t want to take a pay cut at all.

      • Jim213

        From reading his quote again he’s not willing to take a pay cut but re-reading towards the end it sounds like he believes the Lakers would possibly offer him the minimum veteran contract or less than $10 million.

        Depending on next season something will have to give… Kobe is Kobe 5 time champ. It’ll be interesting to see how so called management handles this decision. That’s what I’ve been saying can’t speculate that players will come back during salary negotiations. Team depth required to attract another star for 2014 other than Kobe.

        Have to say it but no player is bigger than the FRANCHISE. If it doesn’t get resolved we may just see Kobe playing with the Warriors while shooting some PR pics with the GREAT Jerry West.

  • Lakeshow

    Wasn’t expecting that, I guess his contract extension is just to squeeze out whatever money he can before he retires, winning another ring is 2nd obviously. How many millions does he need he’s rich already! I didn’t think he would take the minimum but at least half. He’s going to make money off of winning championships and endorsements. If he takes the max deal I don’t even want him to win his 6th ring and I’m a born and raised in LA Lakers fan, and I think Kobe is still the best ever but the mamba has to be a team player.

  • Rene

    No more then 10 mil. if he is a true Laker so they can rebuild from there.

  • Jake

    Who the Hell was hoping for a minimum contract?! That’s just an insult. But something like what happened with Miami would work. If Kobe, LeBron, and Anthony were all on one team, that would be pretty interesting. Not the biggest LeBron fan, but he would make the team better.

    • CharlieMurphy!

      But there’s only one ball?

  • Qing Zhang

    Kobe is not being nice. He is trying to get as much as he can get, so the Lakers say we only have 22mil left for you, then he probably take it, but don’t expect him to not negotiate.

  • Anthony

    Go to hell man if u think we’re paying u max contract Kobe so much for caring about winning huh? Smh

  • Anthony

    It’s time to amnesty Kobe I’m sorry but he ain’t messing up our big offseason he’s 35 with Achilles ..selfish selfish selfish

  • Joe K

    Finally, Laker fans see what this guy is about. Glad that they are responding to the article the way that they are. Amnesty this guy already. Maybe people will finally realize he is the cancer. The funny part is how the article tries to twist it around and say he is savvy instead of selfish. He probably wants to get amnestied since he know he’s not going to win anything anyway.

    • Brian Smith

      If you don’t think about yourself first, then you are just plain dumb. Kobe is the face of this franchise and if it wasn’t for him, they wouldn’t have those recent championships.

      • Joe K

        Kobe doesn’t have that problem. He definitely doesn’t think of himself first. But saying if you don’t is dumb, well, that’s dumb. The whole Miami team took a pay cut. Being selfless is not dumb. If ur going to say Kobe should take all that he can shows that ur a Kobe fan, not a Laker fan.

  • Betto

    I really hope he’s joking around, I’m sure he has plenty of money in the bank with what he got from the Lakers, Nike shoes and other deals, if he wants to win another 1 or 2 more rings before he retires, he better take a pay cut otherwise, the Lakers can move on..

  • TheTruthKills

    Then I guess he won’t be a Laker past next season. I appreciate everything he’s done for the Lakers but I support the name on the front of the jersey first. If he won’t take a pay cut then he can take his act somewhere else. No one comes before the team, not even Kobe Bryant.

    • Roy

      well said
      if the direction kb is heading for is not on par with the team and what’s best for their interest…perhaps the only “cut” isn’t a paycut but cutting kb

      • Brian Smith

        hahah you guys are dumb. What is the point of signing a contract worth X amount of dollars and then coming back 2 years later and trying to say…’Kobe, i know you signed that deal with us for 30 mil, but please can we retract our offer’? You people are just plain retarded

  • quickster007

    In 2014-15, Kobe is not worth 30 millions a season, He should resign at 15 millions a season. Lebron, is only getting paid 19 millions and got two rings. Kobe got five rings but the last one was back in 2010. The Lakers should sign Lebron James, Paul George, Demarcus Cousin first before they sign Kobe. The Lakers future is more important than Kobe. Kobe is acting like Shaq when he demanded that Jerry Buss pay him in which the Late Jerry Buss trade Shaq to Miami.. No superstar worth more than the team. .The Lakers should be prepare cause it’s going to get ugly with Kobe. If you sign Lebron, it makes Kobe expendable. Maybe trade Kobe to the Spurs or the Bulls.

    • Jim213

      Lets hold of on speculations as the article isn’t accurately to the point… leaves things to question…

    • Jokobe

      For starters. You’re right, he probably won’t be making as much as he is now during his next signing. But to hate on Kobe for trying to get the most out of it? Lebron took paycuts cuz hes still young and has way more endorsement deals than Kobe. Kobe on the other hand is in his last years in the NBA and probably have lesser endorsements when he retires. To put in work and get paid for it is what needs to happen. Lakers are a billion dollar franchise, they can cough it up. Kobe signing 3 years deal in 2014-2015 for 60-65 million sounds reasonable if he shows he can still play at an elite level next season. If not, 3 years for 40 million.

  • um…

    Did you ask him if he was taking a cut, or if he’d sign for the minimum? He’s smart enough to know that “as much as he can possibly get” is probably a substantial pay cut. But the veteran’s minimum? That’s insulting.

    • Jim213

      Thanks, was also thinking that too…

  • Laker J

    Let another team pay him as much as they possibly can. He can’t sit there and criticize D12 for leaving, knowing that Howard walked away from 30M, and then say that he is not taking a huge pay cut. I guess it’s a matter of defining “huge”. He can either be a part of next year’s championship team, or he can take his talents elsewhere. My guess is that he is simply posturing himself to negotiate the best possible deal. Hopefully the brass will call his bluff.

    • Jim213


      • John

        seriously, did it even say in the article that he wanted a max deal. As much as he can means he will push to get the most of what the Lakers organization can offer him.

        Be reasonable. He is Kobe Bryant. He will always find a way to contribute even with the age and injuries.

        Think before you post please.

  • John

    Seriosuly, the guy did not say he would take a max deal, he will try and get as much as he can, but that does not necessarily mean he was going for the same contract that he has this time around.

    Any businessman knows that the first that you should put on the table is the ceiling deal that you expect that you want, but does that necessarily mean a max deal? No. He is a smart businessman and any businessman knows to never settle anything for the least.

    Be smart in your postings before judging someone. You do not know the whole story; do not know what he meant by that. We just have to wait and see what happens but knowing Kobe, he would do anything to win. around 10 – 12 mil is my projected deal.

    • Jim213

      Correct Laker J… we have to wait and see what moves management continues to make to put a decent and competitive team out there. To think of offering Kobe $1.45 million for the year would be a slap on the face.

      The Lakers wouldn’t be able to afford a max contract too if they’re thinking about the future. But we also don’t know if management would offer a yearly contract or a 3 year contract which is how long Kobe likely plans on playing.

  • jwickabdurrahim

    I was thinking they could sign Kobe to a 2-year, 20 mill deal, pau to a 2-year 15 mill deal and then make a run for free agents such as Lebron or someone else, giving Lebron a 4-year 100 million deal backended like a mother fucker to help keep cost down in the first two years with kobe and pau’s contracts. Then again, I’m not an executive so what do I know.

  • LakerTroll

    You better not take a paycut KOBE. People be talking mess but won’t take a paycut from they regular jobs. Let yo boss come at you with that “take a paycut” bulls**t”, you would be like Kobe too. Especially if you GREAT at what you do.

  • yniko

    Anything less than 20 million per year would be insulting for a player who averaged 27/6/6 last year.

  • Uncle Drew

    I think he’s going to take maybe 13-15m range like LeBron’s current contract. Pau can have a pretty good 8-10m contract.

  • WTFKobe!!

    Kobe cannot be serious. If this man wants to obtain that elusive 6th ring he WILL have to take a pay cut. Him and Pau will each need to cut their paycheck down to 10 million the max. As much as I think he can be the same player, he will not get any younger. The Lakers, as well as Kobe need to think about the future. They need to sign at least 2 superstar free agents. As we all know superstars don’t come cheap, with the exception of Miami. The players we sign will want to get paid. I gotta disagree with Kobe on this one, its about the Lakers future not his.

  • ra

    Kobe clearly said ‘as much as he can’. He didn’t say ’30 million or bust’.

    Kobe’s brand probably helps the Lakers organization shore up more $$ (not just in the sales of his jerseys, but in revenue world wide – people around the world buy products with the word “Lakers” on it. Kobe is partly responsible for that).

    So, the fact that he’s the best player in the NBA is just incidental. His brand brings in Lakers revenue. They make a fortune because of him (and, he doesn’t own a percentage of the Lakers, unlike Magic used to).

    Add to that the Time Warner deal, $4 billion over 3 years. People watch the Time Warner Lakers channel, and again, they want to see Kobe (in addition to other aspects of the Lakers). That was the money that was going to sport Dwight Howard. If Dwight became a ‘star player’ here in LA, that would boost Lakers revenue, most certainly.

    Winning titles sure helps a lot too. Remember it’s a business, and as Chris Rock said, “the guy who plays basketball for the Lakers is rich. But the guy who pays the basketball player to play is ‘wealthy’”.

  • Terrence

    Minimum contract?! This is complete garbage asking if he’ll take a minimum contract.

  • Terrence

    Watch the interview clip before passing judgement. He actually didn’t answer the question. He was talking about the negotiation process that all athletes go through. He dodged the question of how much he’d be willing to agree to in his next contract.

  • cp24

    kobe has worn out his welcome with the laker players, the nba and now the fans. Time for a new Laker era…

  • Lakers4ever

    If I’m the Lakers I offer Kobe 10 million/year for another 2 year contract. That is what Tim Duncan is getting and it is a reasonable number. If Kobe rejects the offer, the Lakers should go no further than 12 million, take it or leave it! I love Kobe but the Lakers have to think about the future and not just about Kobe’s legacy.

  • Matt Williams

    You people act like he’s gonna be on the Lakers for another 10 years. Take what he makes a year ($30 Mil) and add another and that’s what it’ll be. He’s only got 2 years left. I’d rather Lakers not make a “super team” anyway. We are not the olympics.

  • The_Sports_Dude

    Kobe’s a smart businessman. He can’t publicly state that he’s going to take a pay cut because then he would lose all negotiation leverage. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that when push comes to shove and Kobe is in behind closed doors working out his contract with the Lakers he’ll sign for less money ($10M/year) so the team can surround him with the talent necessary to win now and for years to come. It will be spun that Kobe, the Ultimate Laker, sacrificed for the good of the franchise. This would be the greatest gesture toward the only team he’s ever played for, the team he grew up rooting for, the team he forced a draft-day trade to, and it would cement his status as the most beloved Laker of all time, even more so than Magic Johnson.

  • quickster007

    Here’s Kobe with a sense of arrogance and entitlement. Dude, wake up it was the Triangle that made you a champion along with great players such as Shaq, Paul. The Lakers can sign a Lebron James, Paul George and Demarcus Cousins implement the triangle and championship rings will come. How many rings did Kobe have before the triangle offense was implemented None, Zelch, Zero. I hope the Lakers will realize that it’s was the triangle that give them more championships. All the Lakers have to do is make Phil Jackson part of the front office and Kurt Rambis the coach. Implement the triangle. Sign those three players I mentioned and surround them with great complimentary players . The Lakers doesn’t have to sign Pau and Kobe in 2014 period.

  • JRay08

    I just can’t believe how disrespectful some of the postings are to Kobe Bryant. Have you all forgotten what he has done for the city of Los Angeles. He most likely will go down as one of the top 3 Lakers of all time. And you guys are mad because he says he won’t take a pay cut. And because he’s at the end of his career you guys are like let him go who cares. I still am very upset about the Lakers giving away Derek Fisher. I don’t know what I would do if they did the same to Kobe.

  • Godfather

    Kobe is Kobe but he needs to get some facts straight. 1st of all if he wants to retire as a Laker he better consider a pay cut (around 10 million a year). 2nd He has earned more than $210 million dollars with the Lakers alone, so the FRANCHISE has no moral obligation with him regardless 5 rings. 3rd If at least 2 young Superstars FA are willing to sign with LAL and Kobe still demands max money (regardless he deserve it or no by any means: his game, what he have done, etc) that could be the end. No player is bigger than the FRANCHISE and the LAKERS where the LAKERS for 50 years before him and will be the LAKERS for 50 more years after him. That’s a fact. 4th He and Pau should sign obviously after the potential FA’s sign. So, if he is pro-team and trying to win a 6th or even 7th ring (he has enough game yet), he would be discussing contracts after the “signings”.
    He is a great player and has enough game yet to continue as an elite player in the league. I think is easier to take a pay cut in your final years looking for a title. Specially when you have earned more than 210 million dollars with the Lakers alone! That’s a ridiculous amount of money! So don’t be a prima donna or egomaniac: “This is my team, I’m an Alpha Dog, I deserve this, blah blah” because nobody question his desire,pride and will to win and nobody either is asking him to take a minimum.

  • TheMonitor

    Folks must understand that Kobe is not the GM. It would be stupid of him to go out and announce that he’s willing to take a pay cut to free up cap space. That’s Mitch’s job to find cap space.. You don’t just walk up to your employer and demand a pay cut!

  • joe

    Let see how he plays coming off the Injury before we talk contract

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