How LA Lakers’ Commitment to Kobe Bryant Impacts Pau Gasol and Steve Nash

Welcome to the future of Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, where the whereabouts of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are unknown.

Extending the Black Mamba was issue No. 1 on Los Angeles' to-do list. Now that it's done, the Lakers must turn their attentions to the rest of roster. 

Put in this context, Kobe's extension was a great thing. Doesn't matter if you agree with the $48.5 million value the Lakers placed on him. Hammering out his pact allows them to shed some clarity on the future, which has become increasingly blurred by Robin Thicke's lines financial mystery. 

How much money would the Lakers have to spend in 2014? Would it be enough to sign a superstar? Two superstars?

Collective bargaining agreement-sage Larry Coon shed some light on Los Angeles' fiscal situation following Kobe's agreement, essentially saying they'll have enough dough to offer one max contract:

The salary cap next summer is projected to be $62.9 million. The Lakers will also have their own first round draft pick. Based on their current record, this pick would fall around #15, and would therefore count around $1.5 million against their cap.This would give them a total of about $37.66 million for six players. We need to add another six cap holds totaling $3,04 million, which brings the total to about $40,70 million.

With this team salary, the Lakers would have about $22.2 million in cap room next summer.

Dry your eyes, dreamers of Los Angeles. Two superstars was never a legitimate possibility. Kobe would've had to sign for under $6 million in 2013-14, an offer he would have chewed up and spit out.

Besides, $22-plus million is a nice chunk of change. The Lakers could sign Andris Biedrins twice under his current deal and still have some coin left over!

Cap flexibility isn't all dandelions and overpaid big men, though. General manager Mitch Kupchak must deci...

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