Friday , Sep , 21 , 2007 Oly Sandor

What Could Happen If Kobe Bryant Holdouts On Los Angeles Lakers

Assume Bryant sits out a year, maybe two. The superstar is probably expecting that time to count against his contract. He would forgo his NBA salary and wait until after the 2008-09 season, when he can exercise the opt-out clause on his contract and become an unrestricted free agent …


Sam Smith, a writer with MSNBC.com and veteran NBA reporter, has an interesting suggestion for Kobe Bryant:

He was easily the best player on the U.S. team that swept to first place in the tournament. True, the field was weak, but the U.S. team was strong and Bryant shone brightest. He was the team’s only true two-way player, as ferocious on defense as he was skilled on offense. He scored from everywhere, as we’ve seen before, and again left little doubt that while he may not be the most popular, or certainly obliging, player, he is the most talented in the NBA today.

He turned 29 last month, and the Lakers are squandering the best part of his career.

Perhaps Bryant would be better off sitting out a year, just preparing for the 2008 Olympics, perhaps doing some commercials and appearances. He wouldn’t make close to the almost $20 million he’d have to forfeit. But he’d save his body and let it recover and perhaps extend his career on the other end.

My Quick Take: I want to emphasize this idea originated with Smith. He’s a great reporter, one of the NBA’s best, so check out his work in the NBA section of www.msnbc.com.

His main point is interesting. shouldn’t play for because they surround him with mediocre talent. He suggests Bryant would be better off sitting out the season, preserving his health, and extending the back-end of his career.

Smith reinforces his argument by reminding readers that Michael Jordan never thrived until his
teammates, mainly Scottie Pippen, developed into top players.

Who does Bryant have? is talented, but the last few seasons have revealed his shortcomings. and can’t touch Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman.

Let’s assume Bryant sits out a year, maybe two. The superstar is probably expecting that time to count against his contract. He would forgo his NBA salary and wait until after the 2008-09 season, when he can exercise the opt-out clause on his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

Sounds good in theory, right? Well, hold on. It’s not so simple.

If Bryant escalates the situation by holding out, Dr. Buss will hire some nasty lawyers and play hardball. He’ll go before an arbitrator and argue that Bryant’s contract should be backdated and that he owes the team the time he sat for.

A little draconian. Maybe? But, remember, after Shaq publicly insulted Buss, the eccentric old man quickly cut ties with his favorite center. If Bryant sits, his once-friendly relationship with the club’s owner will get even uglier.

Precedence is not on Bryant’s side. Several years ago, Alexi Yashin, an NHL Player, had a contract with the Ottawa Senators and sat out a year in hopes of forcing a trade. After one season on the sidelines, Yashin reported to the team. But his contract was backdated a year-by an arbitrator’s ruling.

Bryant could gain leverage by sitting out for a trade. However, the Lakers could potentially gain leverage by going before an arbitrator.  Again, this is just a hypothetical situation based on a holdout scenario proposed by Smith. But, man, is it ever interesting.

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