Wednesday , Jul , 01 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Will Bryant’s decision not to opt-out help the Lakers sign Ariza, Odom, or Artest?

By staying-put and deferring negotiations, ‘Black Mamba’ is hoping the purple-and-gold will focus on re-signing free agents Trevor Ariza and/or Lamar Odom. So, will Bryant’s I-can-get-mine-later approach help the club keep their forwards? Well, the club wants both players back. And both players want to be back. However, wanting and affording are separate issues, especially when the Lakers are paying the luxury tax and rivals are clearing cap space and preparing lucrative offers. Ariza and Odom return to Los Angeles if they take less than market value …


Will Bryant's decision not to opt-out help the Lakers sign Ariza, Odom, or Artest?Breaking news mixed with analysis …

Their News: “The annual free-agent scramble began for the Lakers when their most important player decided not to be part of it.

Kobe Bryant elected not to terminate the final two years of his contract and was expected to sign a three-year extension sometime this month.” (Los Angeles Times) 

Our Very Quick Analysis: With rumours flying like an episode of TMZ, there is one known fact in free agency: Kobe Bryant is not opting-out and will ink a new, long-term extension later this summer with the Los Angeles Lakers.

By deferring negotiations, ‘Black Mamba’ is hoping the purple-and-gold will focus on re-signing free agents Trevor Ariza and/or Lamar Odom. So, will Bryant’s I-can-get-mine-later approach help keep the forwards in Staples Center?

Well, the club wants both players back. And both players want to be back. However, wanting and affording are separate issues, especially when the Lakers are paying the luxury tax and rivals are clearing cap space and preparing lucrative offers. Ariza and Odom only return to Los Angeles if they take less than market value.

Of course, there’s no guarantee the Lakers’ blending stars will give a discount. Stardom is new to Ariza, so the 24 year old could leverage his fine playoff into the most money possible, while Odom, who calls Los Angeles home, may get considerably more in the open market then ownership’s offer of the Mid Level Exception.    

Fear not, a plan b exists –and a good one, too. Recently, Ron Artest, an unrestricted free agent and excellent forward, has been linked to the Lakers via ESPN The Insider and Hoopshype’s rumours page.

Sure, Artest has more baggage than a socialite’s Louis Vutton collection. Yet, nobody, least of all the Lakers, can deny his skill and influence on a game or entire playoff series. And Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Zen-Master Phil Jackson have the ‘Juice’ to keep Ron-Ron, the ultimate lockdown forward, on track.

Yesterday, Bryant delayed his extension to give the club flexibility to re-sign Ariza and Odom. However, the circumstances surrounding free agency means his ‘sacrifice’ could go towards landing other talent.

Will Bryant’s decision not to opt-out help the Lakers re-sign Ariza, Odom, or land Artest? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Aaron Frutman.