Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant's Lost Season Will Be Most Expensive in NBA History

Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant speaks during a press conference before the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Joe FlynnContributor IMarch 12, 2014

Love them or hate them, you have to admit one thing about the Los Angeles Lakers: They don't do anything small. They win championships, they draw huge crowds, and they get the best players.

But when those players are hurt, they also lose the most money.

Lakers franchise cornerstone Kobe Bryant has officially announced he is out for the season, per Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding:

With their star (not to mention the league's highest-paid player) on the shelf, the Lakers are taking a historically unprecedented bath on his $30 million-plus 2013-14 salary.

Per Rotowire.com's Jeff Stotts:

Bryant played in only six games, totaling just 177 minutes. That adds up to quite an expensive dollar-per-minute rate, per ESPN's Darren Rovell:

The good news for Kobe and the Lakers is that his absence has allowed the team to completely bottom out for a 2014 draft pick. According to Tankathon.com, the Lakers' 22-42 record gives them a 1-in-5 chance of selecting in the top three. 

Regardless of how the lottery shakes out, considering the strength of this year's class, Bryant has a good chance of getting a talented new teammate in the 2015 season. 

Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sportsw
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

And the Lakers will need some reinforcements to come on the cheap, as Bryant signed a hefty two-year extension in November—$23.5 million in 2014-15 and $25 million in 2015-16, according to ShamSports.com. That's a lot of scratch to pay out for a player creeping up on his fourth decade.

Can Bryant, who will turn 36 years old before the start of next season, possibly repeat the performance of his last full season, when he posted 10.9 win shares?

Though Ding reported that Bryant's knee has been slow to recover, the future Hall of Famer will undoubtedly put in the time and effort to get himself back to 100 percent. It remains to be seen, however, whether his extended rehab translates to elite play on the court.

 

* All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted. 

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