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?
Not so fast. Kobe bleeds purple and gold, but he’s also a very smart businessman.
“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 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.