Sunday , Jun , 21 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Should Bryant take less money so the Lakers can keep Ariza and/or Odom?

It’s a legit concern. Soon, the Collective Bargaining Agreement will be re-worked, reducing the dollars available for elite players in ‘max’ contracts. So superstars with leverage are exercising player’s options and re-upping for the most money possible before the new CBA is created. No doubt about it, Bryant, after leading the purple-and-gold to an NBA Title, has serious leverage. And while the two-guard has publicly stated he won’t leave Hollywood, the fear is he opts-out and asks GM Mitch Kupchak for the GDP of a small country …


Should Bryant take less money so the Lakers can keep Ariza and/or Odom?How much?

This is all Laker-nation can talk about.  More specifically, with free agency hitting July 1st, they’re worried the cost of re-signing Kobe Bryant will make it difficult to keep free agent forwards Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.  

It’s a legit concern. Soon, the Collective Bargaining Agreement will be re-worked, reducing the dollars available for elite players in ‘max’ contracts. So superstars with leverage are exercising player’s options and re-upping for the most money possible before the new CBA is created.  

No doubt about it, Bryant, after leading the purple-and-gold to an NBA Title, has serious leverage. And while the two-guard has publicly stated he won’t leave Hollywood, the fear is he opts-out and asks GM Mitch Kupchak for the GDP of a small country.

Black Mamba has a choice: he can demand top dollar and hurt his supporting cast or take less and position his club to keep Ariza and/or Odom? Basically, Bryant can go for his, and only his, or put the team first?

Now money always matters. There is a belief that players have a responsibility to their family and union to maximize their market value. After all, careers are short and seeking the most money ensures the livelihood of loved ones and fellow union members.

Nobody could fault Bryant, the best player in the world, if he went this route and inked another five-year pact for upwards of 135 million dollars. This is a business. So the two-guard can ask the Buss family for, and get, the moon. Literally. And he deserves it.

However, he should take less, especially if Ariza and Odom also are willing to also give the Lakers a discount.

If it’s about winning, Bryant sacrifices some money. Ariza, after years of scratching out a living, is becoming an All-Star. He has a toughness Los Angeles hasn’t seen since Showtime alums Michael Cooper, A.C. Green, and Kurt Rambis. Odom, when focused, is a marvellous player, capable of effectively playing any position.

Keeping Ariza and Odom gives Bryant the best shot at a fifth and sixth NBA Title. Remember, championships are the mark of greatness, the measuring stick amongst league’s giants, not money. Capturing another ring will elevate Bryant past Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal and put him on par with Magic Johnson and possibly Michael Jordan.

Right now, Laker fans are asking Bryant how much? Instead, they should ask him why not take less?

Should Bryant sacrifice some money for L.A. to go after Ariza and/or Odom? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below and come back to Hoopsvibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Tracy O.