I was reading this article and immediately wanted to share it with my readers. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/67116/los-angeles-lakers-kobe-bryant-civil-war
It discusses the new clash between Kobe fans and Lakers fans. It was an interesting perspective that I had never considered. It certainly explains why fans tend to fall into two groups when it comes to this new rebuild process. I particularly found this to be true after my post last week:
After I wrote this post I spoke to one of my fans who believes we should trade our pick for Kevin Love and try to win now. I clearly fall into the Lakers first camp by believing we should be cautious and take our time, but it appears that he applies to the Kobe before team way of thinking because he thinks trading for Kevin Love is worth the risk.
Now I want to my readers to brace themselves because I am about to do something shocking: compliment Jim Buss. When Kobe got his contract extension back in the fall, I will admit I was a bit surprised. I was surprised that the Lakers settled so quickly on such a high price. After taking a Negotiations class, I was even more surprised. Time was on the organizations’ side. It appeared to be within their best interest to drag it out because they had more to bargain with: Kobe has repeatedly said he wants to retire with the Lakers, Kobe was still injured, Kobe is old, and the CBA makes it difficult to pay high prices for players and be competitive. These were all elements the Lakers could use to drive down the price. Instead, the negotiated very quickly and on a very high price.
Unlike most fans, I did not blame Kobe; I blamed the organization. Honestly, who would turn down $50 million? Would you? Instead I put the blame on the organization for not either pushing harder, or deciding to wait. Now, here is where I compliment Jim Buss.
I think Jim Buss actually was using good foresight when he signed Kobe so early. Maybe he realized that this season was going to be a crap shoot and Kobe was going to lash out and complain anyway. Instead of allowing Kobe to be unattached for next year, Jim tied him into an expensive contract that no other team would touch. Now, even though Kobe is angry at the organization, he is stuck. This isn’t 2007. He is not at the prime of his career and no one is going to take him for $50 million now.
Kobe can complain all he wants, but once he signed that lavish deal, he gave up the only bargaining power that he had. Now Jim Buss holds the cards and can build the team however he desires, without the threat of Kobe walking away.
It is completely possible that I am giving Jim Buss way too much credit. Maybe this was all Mitch’s idea, or I am just reading too much into the situation. However, if I am right about those decisions, that would significantly increase my confidence in the ownership. I mean, he had to learn something from his father, right?