25 November 2013

Lakers Signs Kobe Bryant 2-Year Extension Worth $48.5 Million

Kobe Bryant, 35, will maintain his status as the NBA’s highest-paid player over the course of the extension, according to reports.

The 2007-08 league MVP will receive $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year of the extension, according to the source.

The Lakers and Bryant arrived at the salaries so that the team will have the financial flexibility to pursue one top free agent on the market next summer, the source told Shelburne.

The 2014 free-agent class could include four-time MVP LeBron James and reigning league scoring champion Carmelo Anthony, who both can opt out of their contracts after this season.

Bryant and 39-year-old point guard Steve Nash are the only players signed to significant contracts for next season with the Lakers, who have been anticipating a major roster restructuring in 2014 since Dwight Howard fled town in July.

Even if the Lakers waived the oft-injured Nash under a special provision limiting his salary cap hit, Bryant would eat up roughly a third of the team’s room under the projected cap before anybody else joins him next season.

Bryant, who has not played since suffering a torn Achilles tendon in April, will make more than $30.4 million this season, the final year of his current contract.

The team announced the deal in a news release, saying the signing “should ensure” that Bryant finishes his storied career with the Lakers.



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