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Old 08-17-2011, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

I was reading this.
Quote:
Titles go to teams with superstars, by and large.

There are two reasons for that:
  • Superstars play the best basketball.
  • Superstars make less than they are worth thanks to maximum salaries, which means more money to spend on the rest of the team.

The Lakers organization has swum in the warm waters of this reality for nearly all of the decade-and-a-half of Kobe Bryant's career to date. Delightfully, championships, ticket sales and huge local TV deals have washed ashore.

But under a new, more restrictive collective bargaining agreement, all that could be in jeopardy moving forward.

Bryant's productivity, like all banged up 33-year-old athletes', is likely to decline. Falling far faster is the total amount the Lakers are allowed to spend on players under the CBA. L.A. spent more than $90 million last season, under some proposals for a new CBA, they'd be faced with slashing that total by a third.

Meanwhile, Bryant is about to become the highest paid player in the league, with big raises in each of the next three years. The team's obligations to Bryant -- approaching double LeBron James' income over the next three years -- could force the Lakers to ditch the best of the rest of the roster just to keep him.

Although new CBA rules will likely come with a phase-in period, and rollbacks of existing salaries may provide some relief to the team, there is no scenario on the table in the CBA talks where the Lakers will be able to keep outspending rivals as they have. A stated league goal is to level the competitive playing field, which can only be achieved by tweaking the market to permit less talent on teams like the Lakers, and more talent on teams like the Kings. Tough choices loom, complicated by the fact that though he continues to play like a star, Bryant, is poised to become so overpaid as to flirt with "bad contract" status.

Signs of decline


By necessity, older NBA players find regular season moments here and there to put their competitiveness, and knees, on ice. You just can't go all out all season all career long and be at your best when it matters most. So you pick your spots, biding your time for the playoffs.

On April 17, 2011, those shenanigans were finished for Bryant. The playoffs had finally arrived, and the Hornets were in town.

About 23 minutes and 50 seconds in, though, things had gone a bit sideways. Chris Paul was waltzing through the Laker defense, and the hosts -- expected to win easily -- were trailing significantly.

Bryant did a very Bryantish thing, using a jab, a stepback, and a fadeaway jumper -- essentially unguardable, the way he does it -- to close the gap to eight with about ten seconds in the half. He fell backwards a bit, and summoned a textbook crash-landing, bent legs pushing his momentum straight back into a nice, practiced backside slide.

Just when you'd expect him to hop up and run back on D, however, the base of Bryant's neck found the knee of AEG executive Tim Leiweke, sitting courtside. The bump wasn't much to look at -- nothing compared to the collisions Bryant has endured in the paint for years. Leiweke certainly appeared uninjured.

Play rolled on -- Paul led his Hornets the other direction and nailed a 3 playing against just four Laker defenders as Bryant ... where was Bryant? Ron Artest used the half's final seconds to wish in a half-court shot bomb before the TV cameras found Bryant, still on the floor, unaware of the thrilling plays at both ends, grabbing his neck, kicking a leg in pain as he was fussed over by an oddball crew of Laker trainers, security guards, a stadium executive and the rapper will.i.am. Bryant was face-down for more than a minute -- an eternity when the clock is ticking in a playoff game.

And it is a story of a ticking clock. Young people accused Bryant of faking the injury (A top-rated YouTube comment: "Pierce does it better. He actually got people˙ carry him off the court."). But watching as a man a few years older than Bryant's 32, I felt for the guy. I'm sure there's an accurate story to be told about this or that nerve or tendon or delicate supporting musculature; a month earlier he had injured his neck. But that would all be a distraction from the real story which is: Age. 25-year-old Bryant had no reason to fear a Leiweke knee.

Now, though ... you just don't spring up like you used to.

Mileage

Bryant will be 33 before next season. That's an age when the vast majority of NBA players are solidly in decline, especially perimeter players who rely on athleticism. Even at the tender age of 32, Bryant is already the 18th oldest guard out of 179 listed in the NBA last season on Basketball-Reference.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and among current NBA guards Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Ray Allen are all older than Bryant and still playing at something like their peak.

And by any measure, Bryant's an elite player right now. For instance, he had the league's fifth best PER last season, which is in keeping with his ranking by that stat as a younger man.

Here's the complication, though: Bryant is in a group with Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and other top players who came to the NBA straight from high school. Having joined the professional ranks so young, and played so many minutes throughout their careers, they are racking up old-man minutes at young-man ages. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Bryant has already played 48,310 NBA minutes. Only 15 people in NBA history have ever played more.

Nobody really knows if age, or minutes played, better predicts future performance (and players who went to college still endured wear-and-tear all those pre-NBA years).

But to whatever extent mileage matters, Bryant has logged more playoff minutes than every single player in NBA history, except Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The next active player on that list is Tim Duncan, who is more than a thousand minutes behind.

Bill Russell won 11 titles in less floor time than Bryant has already played. 174 minutes, or a few games, into next season, Bryant will have played more than Michael Jordan ever did, including the Wizards years. Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley, Mark Jackson, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, Lenny Wilkens, A.C. Green, Jerry West ... all retired before playing as much as Bryant already has.

John Stockton, John Havlicek, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, and Jason Kidd are essentially the only perimeter players in NBA history who have continued to play well after having played more minutes than Bryant has, when regular season and playoff minutes are combined.

Kevin Pelton has a sophisticated method of identifying players with similar playing styles, position, size and productivity. After the disappointing end to the Lakers' season, Pelton noted that "of the 50 players whose stats were closest to Bryant's in 13 categories, including height and weight, 71 percent saw their overall per-minute performance decline the next season."

More of the same is not enough

The idea that the Lakers will contend next season, despite the league's second-oldest roster, hinges on the notion that they will greatly improve on a season Bryant called "wasted." There are limited ways that could happen.

Can Bryant be among the 29 percent of players who, in Pelton's analysis, had seasons like his and then came back better? Jordan did it -- as Pelton points out, after a season like Bryant's, he came back the next year to lead a team to a title.

It can happen, but it would take some luck. And counting on luck is no plan.

Bryant, however, has already showed plenty of signs of wear and tear.

Somebody could write a feature film about his right knee. Bryant took it to Colorado for surgery in 2003, a visit that famously ended in scandal at a hotel in the town of Eagle. It was operated on again in 2006 and 2010. It then kept Bryant from practicing nearly all of last season, which has been called a key factor in major breakdowns in the team when under stress against the Mavericks in the playoffs, where the favored Lakers were swept in four games.

The same knee has already undergone a fourth operation this summer, this time in Germany.

And the knee is only part of the story. His left ankle, his right index finger, a ligament in his right pinkie ... his neck took a beating from Martell Webster in March. The point being, you can say this past season was an aberration in that he was never fully healthy. The idea is that next season he will, at long last, be able to play unhindered. But you have to look back years to find a Bryant season that is not marred by nagging injuries. Even with arguably the league's finest offseason training regimen, he has carried a whole team's worth of aches and pains for a half-decade, which speaks admirably of his mental toughness, but not as well of his likelihood of being free and clear of injury worries in the future.


Source over here.
I know Henry Abbott was biased in his usual posts, but I agree with this article. He isn't bashing Kobe or anything. Just cold hard facts.

The Lakers are going to have a hard time building a great team with a declining Kobe due to his huge contract when the hard cap is mandatory for all. But after seeing him play in the summer, it seems like the Knee procedure at Germany is working. Who knows? Maybe we'll see a miracle next season.

What do you think?

posted a similar article in the main forum: http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/sho...14#post6270114
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

I don't care. Kobe earned that contract. He has been underpaid for his first 12 yrs as far as Im concerned. How many people tuned into the TV or came to games not only in LA just to see Kobe? I literally went to NY to watch Kobe in MSG for my Bday (although punk ass Stern and his minions didn't let it happen)

And that cat who wrote that article, I bet has not once put as much effort in his craft as Kobe does in one day.

One reason I hope nothing comes of this lockout, Kobe becomes the first dude since MJ to hit 30 mil a year simply on bball salary. He has earned it, in a CBA when that was almost impossible. To some thats blasphemy, to me, its something that the man has earned.

I got a problem with Eddy Curry cashing a 50mil contract, I have no qualms with Kobe cashing a 90 mil contract. Anyone disagree, IDGAF
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

oh snap, I didn't even answer the Q

yes it will be harder to build a team with a huge Kobe contract, but if there is any type of hard cap it will be phased in gradually, so his 3 year deal might be up by that time.

but consider this, dude has a no trade clause, and there are no option years, so even if they wanted to do anything, which they don't, the Lakers are stuck with the Mamba, which is a good thing IMO.

I read a Yahoo article that said the big market teams are sucking up all the talent, which is why they want a hard cap. And they cited Miami. Well Miami wasn't the only team with cap room? But they were the only team to gut their roster to go after 3 max dudes. If Milwaukee did it, they would have had a very legit shot at getting them cats if they had a GM who has the same pull as Riley.

I do see how a large market will have the upper hand with all things being even, dollars and years. But how often does that happen? NY had crazy cap room, and they got Amare and Randolph/Buke/Ronny. Jersey, who have been saying for years they are moving to Brooklyn, got Outlaw/Farmar/(that shooter) cant remember his name. Now that might be a little hasty since they are still in the Garden State.

I just don't see how they can say a dude who generates so much money for the league, should get a max deal of 11 mil per, that is just crazy talk for me.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

and I thought Kobe went to Colorodo for shoulder surgery? Was is the knee that caused the infamous trip?
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

Colorado? You mean the knee surgery procedure in Germany

I think Kobe's looking better than ever, his first step is deadly, great footwork, and he appeared to gain some athleticism back. He'll come back strong next season, if there is one.

Even if Kobe plays like bum, the Lakers still profit from that, Kobe alone generates a lot of revenue for the Lakers, definitely more than 6 times than a role player paid 6 Mil. That contract extension isn't a mistake.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat Like A Bosh
Colorado? You mean the knee surgery procedure in Germany

I think Kobe's looking better than ever, his first step is deadly, great footwork, and he appeared to gain some athleticism back. He'll come back strong next season, if there is one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FROM THE ARTICLE
Somebody could write a feature film about his right knee. Bryant took it to Colorado for surgery in 2003, a visit that famously ended in scandal at a hotel in the town of Eagle. It was operated on again in 2006 and 2010.

I was trying to pick holes in dudes article

I know he got his knee worked on 3x (before Germany plasma therapy or whatever they call it) but one time was not during the Colorado incident.

But I havent seen Kobe except for some snapshots of 10 seconds or so, so I cant really say how fluid he looks. But you gotta remember, dude has been off for a while now, so he's fresh. The trouble will be how he does in game 45/82, ya dig. Im sure he will be fine, its Kobe, the man is a machine.

I don't worry about Kobe yet, when people doubt him, he punches into a gear that I havent' seen, which is why I love for people to trash talk.

But yea, Kobe generates so much money for the league its crazy, let alone the Lakers. What the Lakers should do is come out with some retro jerseys or something, people will eat all that up.
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

I thought Kobe went to Germany because of the treatment? some kind of special SPA.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

won't they get to renegotiate his contract if some
hard cap is imposed? there would be some new
max salary or one exempted salary....

they would have to do something...... you cannot
keep some contracts and lose others
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

Quote:
Originally Posted by $LakerGold
I thought Kobe went to Germany because of the treatment? some kind of special SPA.
Platelet rich plasma therapy. From what I understand, they inject an enriched blood plasma into the injured area, and it's pretty good for bone repair and regeneration. Hopefully, it helps a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magicmanfan
won't they get to renegotiate his contract if some
hard cap is imposed? there would be some new
max salary or one exempted salary....

they would have to do something...... you cannot
keep some contracts and lose others
Whatever the new CBA looks like, I'd be very surprised if the cap creates a situation where teams have to alter their current rosters a heap. I'd imagine prior contracts would be grandfathered in...
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: When Kobe's contract becomes a burden

Quote:
Originally Posted by with malice
Whatever the new CBA looks like, I'd be very surprised if the cap creates a situation where teams have to alter their current rosters a heap. I'd imagine prior contracts would be grandfathered in...

That's where I get confused... how can the current inequality in team
salaries be modified to get to a hard cap where they are all the same?
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