Lakers: Insider says “Kobe wanted WAY more than what he got” Was actually upset at the $48mil

This just in: No, the Lakers didn’t just lay $48.5 million on Kobe Bryant out of the blue.

If they had (as the team and Bryant said they did), then it would have been generous to a fault, closing down options for the next two seasons.

If, on the other hand, the process was mutual with both sides signaling their interest and compromising on the price, it’s something else – an expensive but arguably reasonable, decision to retain Kobe to help them transition.

Indeed, that’s what happened, Lakers insiders told the Register.

The Lakers had already begun thinking about extending Bryant – Jeanie Buss was all for it, Jim more deliberate – when the two sides began feeling each other out before Kobe’s return in December.

When word came back that Bryant liked the idea of getting it done, the bargaining started.

Bryant asked for more than he got, but settled for remaining the NBA’s highest-paid player.

As originally reported, Jim and Jeanie agreed because it’s what their father would have done.

They may have even done it on their father’s advice, since Jerry Buss did the same thing to thank Magic Johnson for his extraordinary contribution.

Whatever the case, the situations weren’t the same.

When Dr. Buss told Johnson to keep his one-year $14.7 million extension after retiring in 1991 as a going-away present, there was no luxury tax.

Nor were the Lakers about to go out and pursue free agents with veterans James Worthy, Byron Scott, Sam Perkins and A.C. Green on their cap. It would take five years before they would be in position to bag Shaquille O’Neal in 1996.

If the Lakers don’t intend to spend all their money in 2014, they don’t intend to wait until 2019.

Signing Bryant meant giving up the minimal chance they thought they had at Lebron James this summer. With little interest in Carmelo Anthony, that pretty much does it for the Class of 2014.

The best remaining players are Chris Bosh – a younger Pau Gasol – Kyle Lowry and Luol Deng, none of whom will be bargains since all will get big offers from their teams.

On the other hand, why should James come out this summer? Dwyane Wade’s future is uncertain. LeBron’s preferred option, the Clippers, can happen only if Miami president Pat Riley trades him. With no more leverage than James has – the possibility of signing with Cleveland or Dallas – I don’t see it.

What if LeBron stays next season and opts out in 2015, instead?

The Lakers will have a max slot – but if LeBron gets his full $22.1 million with Kobe at $25 million, that leaves less than $20 million for 10 more players.

In other words, if LeBron comes in 2015, it would be to play with Kobe and some cheap guys.

In other words, LeBron ain’t coming in 2015, either.

Written by Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra is a co-founder of WickedJumpShot.com Joey is a boxing and basketball journalist who attends USI as a post graduate. Joey grew up in the New Rochelle Area of the greater New York City area, and is a cousin of the famous singer, Frank Sinatra. Joey also writes for the Boxing Globe.

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