“They paid him more than I would’ve gone for.” Jackson said, prefacing he would have indeed given him the extension for two more years.
I suppose it is easy for Jackson to make that statement in hindsight with Bryant suffering another serious injury shortly after the contract was completed. Yet, it’s hard to argue with his stance as it’s highly likely the Lakers organization jumped the gun. It’s possible the front office was still stung by losing Dwight Howard that they couldn’t wait to try to right that wrong by locking up Kobe.
The extension looks awful now though. Just by waiting a little longer would have given the Lakers a ton of leverage to offer far less money. If they did, Bryant would have had to seriously consider taking a significant pay-cut with the multiple injuries hurting his market value.
It’s all very interesting considering Jackson is engaged to the Lakers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Jeanie Buss. He’s basically going on the record disagreeing with her and his future brother-in law Jim Buss, who is the Executive President of Basketball Operations. Not that Jackson is worried about hurting the feelings of anyone, he never has, but what does this say about the current Lakers administration?
It says the man who coached Bryant, and knows him better than anyone, thinks the team made an unsound business decision.