Breaking Down How Kobe Bryant’s Extension Impacts LA Lakers’ Future

True to their mutual word, the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant remain meant for each other.

The Lakers announced that they agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Black Mamba, ending any speculation that he would reach the open market this summer:

According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the deal will be worth approximately $48 million, meaning Kobe's reign as the league's highest-paid player will continue:

ESPN's Tom Haberstroh adds further context, using Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson to put Vino's new pact into perspective:

That the Lakers would hand Kobe nearly $50 million at the age of 35, while he's still injured, says a lot about their faith in him to continue dominating. More so, it shows how much he means to the organization, city and its fans.

Players Kobe's age don't get this kind of money; rather, they're not supposed to. But this is Kobe. To the Lakers, he's irreplaceable, and it shows in his extension. They weren't ready for life without him, for what comes next, and I don't blame them.

But now that Kobe's extension is ironed out, there are more pressing discussions to tackle—issues that are bigger than Kobe's shiny new deal and his impending return. Bigger than his ceiling upon that return.

Where do the Lakers go from here? Now that they know how much money and cap space Kobe commands, what is their next play?

The future has been staring them down like a single Wilt Chamberlain on the prowl. Kobe's extension stood between the Lakers and what would come next. With that out of the way, it's time to confront the future head on.

Time to see what type of team the Lakers can build.

Salary Outlook

We already know that their initial plan was to chase LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who are both eligible to hit unrestricted free agency this summer...

About the Author