Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Color me curious, but I think Bryant not opting out of his contract is a shrewd business move. Sure, there's talks of a three to four year extension, but that's not supposed to happen until later in July. While a lot of media are focusing more closely on Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza (as they most certainly should be) I can't help but think that Kobe is using his position to leverage the Lakers. He wants the whole team back, and if he had opted out he would have distracted Lakers brass from pursuing Odom and Ariza (I mean, he would then become the number one priority for the Lakers). Also, if he worked out a new contract, he would be guaranteeing himself as a part of this franchise before knowing for sure if Ariza and Odom would be back. He seems to be back in love with the Lakers, but he remembers what happened last time he signed on the dotted line with promises of building a contender. Two straight years of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. Kobe's learned from his past mistakes. With him only signed for one more season right now, the onus is on the Lakers to fork over the money for both Odom and Ariza, which would make Kobe happy, and would help solidify in his mind to sign that extension.