The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant have agreed on a two-year contract extension, the team officially announced in a press release. Full details of the deal were not immediately available, though speculation is he will make approximately $48.5 million over the two-year extension, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Bryant has not played for the Lakers since tearing his Achilles in April, though he has begun practicing with team and is participating in five-on-five scrimmages.
Be sure to check the Lakers' full press release, but here's what Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had to say about the sudden extension:
"This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization," said Kupchak. "We've said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come."
Bryant is currently in the final year of his contract, set to make $30.4 million. While details of the contract are not available, based on a previous conversation with Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus, it appears the maximum paycut decrease on a contract extension is in the neighborhood of 7.5 percent:
Re: Maximum paycut % on contract extension. Thank you! RT @EricPincus: @DrewGarrisonSBN 7.5 percent - so yeah 28ish mil— Drew Garrison (@DrewGarrisonSBN) October 26, 2013
Mike Bresnahan adds that "sources" are confirming Kobe Bryant will be the highest paid player in the NBA for the next two season, adding to the prior bit of information from Eric Pincus:
Kobe will still be NBA's highest-paid player, according to sources. He'll total between $40 mill and $50 mill his last 2 seasons.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 25, 2013
This deal appears to set Kobe Bryant to play out the remainder of his career in a Lakers uniform, and he took to Twitter to show his name on the dotted line:
#Laker4Life pic.twitter.com/1hqyMllnoy— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) November 25, 2013
Big news from the Lakers seemingly out of nowhere. It's unclear when confirmation on the figures will be made, but every sign points to this being a deal for at least $20 million each year.
UPDATE: Eric Pincus has clarified regarding the contract extension decrease percentage and stated that there are no restrictions on maximum or minimum numbers:
@DrewGarrisonSBN @JADubin5 nah - I clarified a few weeks back - can take min to max in extension— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 25, 2013
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