HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors
Kobe Bryant got his contract extension on Monday. Is Pau Gasol, the guy who Kobe often refers to as a "brother" and who he paired with to win two championships, soon to follow? "We have not had any discussions with Pau," Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday on a conference call with a small group of reporters. "I’m sure I will and where that leads I’m not sure right now. A lot has to do with different variables. I’m not saying that something won’t be considered and I’m not saying that something will be. I’m just saying that it’s not something that came up and it wouldn’t have come up before (Monday) anyway. There was no reason for anything to take place until we signed Kobe. So, we’ll kind of roll with that and see where it leads." ESPN.com
"Obviously, he took a pay cut," Kupchak said of Bryant, who will be paid $30.5 million this season and was eligible to be offered up to $32 million next season under the terms of the new CBA. "A substantial pay cut. A lot of people look at it and say, 'Well, that's not a huge financial pay cut,' but it was a negotiation that we felt like was pretty quickly accomplished and fair on both sides. We're comfortable." ESPN.com
Even with so much money committed to Bryant -- his $23.5 million salary accounts for more than a third of the expected $62.9 million salary cap next season -- Kupchak believes the Lakers can still fill in enough pieces around him to compete for another Larry O'Brien Trophy. And what a title that would be -- Bryant's sixth, to tie his idol Michael Jordan, and the team's 17th, to tie the rival Boston Celtics. "I think we do," Kupchak said on a conference call with a small group of reporters. "I think we do. The challenges are there. The collective bargaining agreement doesn't make it any easier for anybody. It's restrictive and challenging, but yes, I do believe we can." ESPN.com
When asked if free agents like himself would see Bryant as a star who is still worthy of joining in order to contend for a title, Anthony said, "I mean you'll have to see. It's hard to gauge at this point, not until he comes back (from his April Achilles tendon tear) and figures some things out. So I don't know. They might have some plans up their sleeve." USA Today Sports
Mike Trudell: Pau on Kobe: “I think it’s a good extension … he’s the face of the franchise.” Said he’s not sure how/if it affects his own situation. Twitter @LakersReporter
But as Anthony chatted briefly with USA TODAY Sports about Kobe Bryant's two-year, $48.5 million extension, he may as well have been speaking for the entire free agency class of 2014 when he made this not-so-surprising statement: Bryant's health and performance, rather than the size of his deal, likely will determine whether anyone of equal stature joins him this summer. When asked if free agents like himself would see Bryant as a star who is still worthy of joining in order to contend for a title, Anthony said, "I mean you'll have to see. It's hard to gauge at this point, not until he comes back (from his April Achilles tendon tear) and figures some things out. So I don't know. They might have some plans up their sleeve." USA Today Sports
Any rumor missing? E-mail us at email@example.com.