Kobe Bryant: I won’t take a pay cut on next contract
Kobe Bryant believes he is one of the top players in the NBA, so he’s not about to give the Los Angeles Lakers a discount on his services, even if a pay cut would help the team. At least, that’s what he said on Wednesday.
Bryant was asked by Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters about the possibility of taking less money on his next contract to give the Lakers more financial flexibility, and he dismissed that suggestion.
“I’m not taking any at all – that’s the negotiation that you have to have,” Bryant told Lakers Nation in an interview at his basketball academy. “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.”
Bryant has long held this attitude. In 2008, he said it was GM Mitch Kupchak’s job to keep the team together, not his. The difference between now and then is that the CBA has changed, making it harder — and more expensive — for teams to keep players together.
The Lakers are already nearly $20 million over the salary cap without even having a full roster under contract (HoopsHype data). Bryant, at $30.45 million, will be the highest-paid player in the league next season by far. The next highest-paid player is Dirk Nowitzki at $22.7 million. The gap between the two is enormous.
We have seen LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade take less money to give themselves a stronger team. Even Tom Brady reorganized his contract to give the New England Patriots more flexibility. Given the current cap constraints, Bryant might have to change his stance if he wants to give the Lakers the best chance of winning.