Kobe Bryant ended the speculation of whether or not he would finish his career in L.A. before it started, agreeing to a three-year extension Friday that will keep him under contract until age 35.
The deal appears to be a good move for both Kobe, who got more money from L.A. than he would have received by going elsewhere.
Kobe, who is earning $23 million this season, had the option of opting-out of his contract at the end of the year. He will make around $24 million next season before his new extension kick in.
Then comes crazy money. Kobe is slated to make over $27 in 2011-2012, $30 million the following season, and a whopping $32 million in his final season under contract, 2013-2014.
Kobe’s body of work suggests he will still be going strong at 35, but durability could become an issue.
There isn’t a strong blueprint for a player who started so young playing into his mid-30’s. Kevin Garnett is the the only concrete example of a player who began his career in his teens and continues to play into his mid-30’s. KG’s knee went a year ago and will probably never allow him to return to the player he once was. It will be interesting to see how Kobe’s game evolves as he gets older and puts on more miles.
For now at least, things are all sunshine and rainbows in L.A.