As always with a team like the Los Angeles Lakers, there have been a ton of rumors floating around over the last few weeks of the possibilities of LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony taking their talents to the West Coast. Kobe Bryant reportedly called both players to discuss it, but there was one glaring problem with his pitch.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN said via a podcast, “Kobe actually did…call both of them and talked to them about it.” Shelburne said Kobe even said he would “play defense” while LeBron and Melo would “be the stars…just like the Olympic team.” However, the sticking point in the pitch was the money.
While Kobe will collect a cool $48.5 million from the Lakers over the last two years of his contract, this possible super team creation on the West Coast would require LeBron and Melo to each play for $16 million per year, which is the max Los Angeles could pay them and still field a full roster. So to recap, Kobe wants LeBron and Melo to “be the stars,” but play for way less money. Typical Kobe move, right?
We all know that would never happen, especially with the latest report coming out that LeBron will take nothing less than a max salary in free agency this offseason. Plus, two of these three stars couldn’t coexist on the same team, much less three. As he should be, Kobe is desperate to win a sixth ring in his twilight years, but he’s built a reputation over his 18-year NBA career that won’t change.
LeBron and Melo both know what comes with playing alongside Kobe and neither is willing to take $16 million per year when they could each get $22.2 million, especially while the supposed No. 3 option on the team (yeah, right) is making $23.5 million.
And as for Kobe, he can forget ever being compared to Michael Jordan again. Like MJ said when LeBron created the Big Three down in South Beach, “There’s no way…I would’ve ever called up Larry [Bird]…and…Magic [Johnson to] play on one team.”
Even though he’ll never play with LeBron and Melo, Kobe has given up his G.O.A.T. candidacy by even attempting to do so.