Los Angeles Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million extension is by far the most unpopular contract in the NBA. Fans and media love to gripe about it, but Kobe couldn’t care less what the outside world thinks.
Bryant knows he deserves the money (and then some), and continues to argue that the Lakers can still build a title-caliber team around him and his huge paycheck.
When asked about the big paycuts star players such as Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, et al. have recently accepted, Bryant says that wouldn’t have been necessary if they wore the Purple and Gold.
Per the LA Daily News:
“Did I take a discount? Yeah,” Bryant said. “Did I take a discount as much as fans want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah. What we tried to do is be in a situation where we take care of the player and the player takes care of the organization enough to put them in a championship predicament.”
But Bryant addressed this issue considering Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki took a steep hometown discount this summer, a three-year deal worth $25 million. […] “I think that means he’s not playing in Los Angeles,” Bryant said. “I think it’s not about the winning portion of it. That’s where players get themselves in a lot of trouble. That might offend some people but I’ve played 19 years in the NBA so I don’t care. It’s about the business of basketball. For a lot of writers and fans, they have a tough time distinguishing the two. This is a business. You have to look at the individuals into what they generated, the market that they generated revenue. You can’t separate them. People have a hard time separating that stuff. From a business perspective you have to take that into account. As a player you have to try to as a player be in situations where you can have a win-win for everybody.”
Bryant also laughed when told (Mark) Cuban has argued against max contracts, saying, “you have to consider the source.” […] “It’s the popular thing to do. Players take less, blah, blah, blah,” Bryant said. “But I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. If you don’t then you get criticized for it and all this stuff. It’s absolutely brilliant. But I’m not going for it. I know the new head of the players association isn’t going for it either.”