Kobe Bryant Says New Deal With Lakers ‘Wasn’t a Negotiation’

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

When the Los Angeles Lakers approached Kobe Bryant about maintaining his status as the NBA’s highest-paid player, he certainly wasn’t about to persuade them otherwise.

The franchise stared at the reasons for not signing their ageing superstar to such a massive deal in the face — the unknown regarding Kobe’s health going forward; the salary cap hit that may hinder them from building a title-contending franchise around Bryant — and basically screamed “YOLO!”

Kobe is grateful for the 2-year, $48.5 million contract, and says the decision to sign was a no-brainer. The Lakers claim it was the right thing to do, consequences be damned.

Per Yahoo! Sports and ESPN:

“This was easy,” Bryant said on Monday night. “This wasn’t a negotiation. The Lakers made their offer with cap and building a great team in mind while still taking care of me as a player. I simply agreed to the offer.”

“This wasn’t something I decided to do; this wasn’t something [general manager] Mitch Kupchak decided to do. This was a Buss family decision,” Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss said on Monday night. “We made him the highest-paid player in the NBA because we felt like it was the right thing to do. This wasn’t about what somebody else would pay him or outbidding anyone for him. This was to continue his legacy [with the Lakers], our legacy of loyalty to our iconic players.”

The deal has been universally panned — some charge that Kobe Bryant is greedy; others that the Lakers weren’t wise to invest so much in the fading legend — and Bean lashed out a bit on Instagram (he unimaginatively called critics “slow”.)

The Lakers’ immediate future on the court doesn’t look all that promising, but they seem thrilled with their decision:

“Loyalty is one of the values our dad instilled in us,” Buss said. “It’s how he ran the Lakers and how we aspire to continue to run the Lakers. It’s what our fans and iconic players deserve.”