When it comes to helping make the Los Angeles Lakers competitive, Kobe Bryant needs to look inward and stop blaming management or his teammates. This year, Kobe is making more than 25 million dollars. When combined with the more than 18 million that Pau Gasol is making and the 14.9 million that Andrew Bynam is making does not leave much to pay quality teammates to surround them. On the other hand, Dwayne Wade took far less than what he could have demanded and managed to convince Lebron James and Chris Bosh to take less than their maximum salaries. Wade is making 15.5 million this season and James and Bosh are making just over 16 million. If the Miami Heat trio had each demanded and gotten their maximum contracts, they may have had to play three on five, or force their team to go way over the salary cap and pay a very heavy penalty.
Despite a vast amount of unwarranted hate, the Miami trio put team above personal gain and that is something that Bynam, Gasol and especially Bryant has yet to do. Kobe’s hefty contract is only slightly more expensive, on a per minute basis, than are the contracts of Andrew Bynam and Pau Gasol.
Kobe also seems to insist on getting plenty of shots, even when they are not falling, and when the team seems to be more successful when he shoots less. Kobe has never made as much as 47 percent of his field goal attempts in the regular season and this year he is making less than 44 percent of his shots. As this is being written, Bryant’s PER (player efficiency rating) is 23.52 and his salary this season is $25,244,493. Lebron’s PER is 32.42 (nearly 38 percent higher than Kobe’s and his salary of $16,022,500 is less than 64 percent of Kobe’s salary. Dwayne Wade’s PER of 28.14 is nearly 20 percent higher than Kobe’s, yet Wade’s salary of $15,691,000 is less than 61 percent of Kobe’s.
The point I am attempting to make is that NBA players should look inward before blaming coaching or management on a team’s woes. The most successful teams are the ones that get the most bang for their bucks, but the players can do a lot to help make that happen.