With the Los Angeles Lakers expected by many to tank this season, the best thing they can do for their future would be to re-sign Kobe Bryant before free agency officially begins. By doing that, they will be able to get an outlook on exactly what they plan on doing with the rest of their salary cap space this offseason.
What the Lakers can do in free agency this offseason hangs over Kobe’s head. How Kobe proceeds from this point on will tell just about everyone how Bryant expects the end of his career to go because this should very well be Kobe’s last contract extension. If Kobe decides to not take a pay cut then that tells me he’s fine with his five championship rings and he’ll continue to shoot at will to likely break the all-time scoring record. If Kobe takes a pay cut so the Lakers can bring in some reinforcements (LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony) then that should tell everyone getting a ring is more important than the individual spotlight. Greed is a word used to describe Kobe, but hunger can be used as well. Will Kobe be greedy and want more money or will the hunger for his sixth championship win over?
When it’s all said and done, Kobe could very well go down as the greatest player to ever wear a Lakers uniform, but it would be crazy for him to think the Lakers should break their bank for him. If Kobe wants to win his sixth ring with the Los Angeles then a pay cut is completely necessary. I consider myself the biggest Kobe fan I personally know and it kills me to even say or think this, but the Lakers should not re-sign Kobe if they’re not going to have enough money to build the team back up. Dealing with these contract negotiations right now rather than waiting until the offseason is the most important thing the Lakers can do at this point.
With all that said, I fully expect to see Kobe in a Lakers uniform this year and likely two more years after. Bryant sure can be greedy, but his hunger for winning goes far deeper than his greed. Kobe will do what’s best for the Lakers because in the end, what’s best for the Lakers is best for Kobe.