Kobe Bryant, who last year signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension, has said he won’t be taking a paycut, hinting that he won’t play past this contract which expires after next season. That contract not only made the 36-year-old the highest paid NBA player coming off a major injury, it also got him some flak from Laker fans.
Never afraid to speak his mind, Bryant shared his dislike for hometown discounts. “It’s the popular thing to do,” Bryant said, via ESPN.com. “The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don’t, then you get criticized for it.”
When asked about Dirk Nowitzki who signed a three-year, $25 million contract this summer to stay in Dallas, Bryant replied that the Mavericks aren’t in the same financial position as the Lakers who recently signed a $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable.
Byrant continued to say that hometown discounts are “absolutely brilliant, but I’m not going for it. I know the new head of the players association ain’t going for it, either.” He’s referring to Michele Roberts, a tough, no-nonsense litigator who was elected as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) this past July 29.
Roberts is not only the first female executive director of the NBPA, she’s also the first woman in North America to head a major professional sports organization. She has already taken on NBA commissioner Adam Silver, disagreeing with some of his decisions – she’s no pushover so keep your eyes open for further discussion on hometown discounts between the NBPA and the NBA.
Andre Khatchaturian of NESN.com writes that “If Bryant isn’t bluffing, it’s possible that if he can’t fetch another huge contract when he becomes a free agent again, he will retire.”