The minutiae of NBA player contracts can give plenty of casual fans headaches, but they’re mostly fascinating to those of us covering the league, as well as to a certain portion of the more hardcore fans that exist.
We have a feeling that this particular detail of Kobe Bryant’s contract will appeal to ancillary fans and NBA geeks alike.
Bryant is slated to make north of $30 million this season as the league’s highest paid player, a well-deserved honor for being in the final year of a max deal while playing in his 18th NBA season. But players are able to negotiate when those payments are made to a certain extent, and Bryant and the Lakers agreed to a scenario where he’ll receive a very large payment in a lump sum on November 1.
From Eric Pincus and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Negotiated as part of his contract, Bryant receives a balloon payment Nov. 1. On Friday, the All-Star guard will receive $24,363,044 from the Lakers.
Bryant’s salary for the entire season is $30,453,805 — the remaining $6.1 million will be paid out over the course of the season.
While there’s a limit to how much a player can receive in advance, Bryant is right at that 80% maximum.
How and when Bryant gets paid is a semi-juicy detail of his deal with the Lakers, but far more interesting to fans of the team is when he’ll be healthy enough to return to the court after suffering the torn Achilles injury that prematurely ended his season back in April.
There’s still no timetable for Bryant’s return, though most estimates expect for him to be back sometime in December. If nothing else, he’ll have an additional $24 million to keep himself occupied until he’s physically ready to come back.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.