Are the Los Angeles Lakers Gambling with Kobe Bryant to Get to LeBron James?

The greatest player of his era can opt out of his contract at the end of the 2009-10 NBA season.

The greatest player of the next era will be a free agent after this season.

No matter how much they get tired of hearing their names together, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James' fates will be intertwined. The two best players in the world fit together like cereal and milk. Unfortunately, the prospect of them living together like in their puppet world is a greater possibility than them playing together.

Given that backdrop, one has to wonder why Kobe Bryant hasn't signed a $91 million extension that is allegedly on the table for him.

Media personalities and journalists have been speculating that perhaps Kobe wants to ensure that Phil Jackson commits to a couple more seasons before he will sign another contract to be a Laker for life.

But in Kobe's push to get six rings and match Jordan, wouldn't it be a treat for Kobe to win one without Jackson? Wouldn't winning at least one ring without Jackson give Kobe some leverage in the Kobe-Jordan debate—doing something that his doppelganger did not do?

Kobe has to know that doing what Jordan never did and winning a title without Jackson would only enhance his legacy. Add to his legend. So Kobe linking his decision to return with Phil Jackson's status seems unlikely.

There's something else brewing beneath the surface.

The lawyer in me understand that contract negotiations are never what they seem, especially with sophisticated parties.

And then there's history to consider, which often repeats itself.

If I was a betting man (and Lakers' owner Jerry Buss is a betting man) I would bet that Kobe would sign his contract tomorrow if the Lakers would offer him one that genuinely rewarded him for the value he produces. Kobe isn't holding his contract up; the Lakers are.

You might well b...

About the Author