The Los Angeles Lakers signed Kobe Bryant to a three-year contract extension on Friday, reportedly worth $90 million. Therefore, the 12-time NBA All Star is set to remain in purple and gold up through the 2013-2014 season.
"We are extremely pleased that we were able to reach an agreement and come to terms on the extension at this time," said Lakers general manger Mitch Kupchak. "Kobe has been a cornerstone of the Lakers for well over a decade, helping to lead us to four NBA championships and in the process developing into one of the greatest players in basketball history."
The 31-year-old shooting guard is currently in his 14th season with the team, and when the deal expires he will be nearly 36.
Ever since Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat following the ’03-’04 season, Kobe has been given the keys and put in the driver's seat of one of the most decorated franchises in NBA history.
Up until today, Kobe has responded perfectly while cruising along victory lane. Over the past six seasons, the Lakers have accumulated a record of 207-121 (.631)
In ’06, he managed to score a mind-boggling 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point performance back in ‘62. Later, in ’08, he won the league MVP, yet fell short of a championship when his Lakers lost to the Celtics in the Finals.
Despite the setback, he bounced back the following year and led the Lakers to their 16th NBA title.
This season, he’s averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists this season, and is, once again, an MVP candidate.
More importantly, the team is the favorite to get back to the promised land, where they would have the chance to repeat as champions.
Even if they don’t so, the franchise has set itself up for success in the near future.
In December, the team locked up Gasol by signing him to a three-year, $60 million extension. That, along with Kobe’s signing, will ensure that the dynamic trio of Bryant, Artest, and Gasol stays intact for at least four more seasons, which ultimately means bad news for the other 29 teams in the league.
I think it’s a great decision on the Lakers part to secure Kobe’s future in L.A.
Today, in professional sports, there is no loyalty—proven on numerous accounts such as the Brett Favre saga.
I think it’s critical to give a player, let alone a sure-fire Hall of Famer, such as Kobe Bryant, the respect he deserves. He has been an intricate ingredient to the team’s success over the past 14 seasons, and I’m glad he will continue to be, as I wish him, and the Lakers the best of luck moving forward.