Kobe Bryant deal was "the right thing to do"

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Football News

The LA Lakers' decision to make Kobe Bryant the highest paid player in the NBA was an easy one and the "right thing", according to the owners.

Bryant put an end to any speculation surrounding his future on Monday by agreeing to a two-year deal worth $48.5million, which takes him top of the money charts in basketball.

An achilles injury that put paid to Bryant's 2012-13 season, among other fitness worries, had meant there was uncertainty over whether he would be awarded a new contract, what with him turning 35 next month and yet to return to the court.

However, franchise owners, the Buss family, claim they never doubted for a minute whether to hand him a new contract or not and insisted they were ready to show loyalty to one of the LA Lakers greatest players.

"This wasn't something I decided to do; this wasn't something [general manager] Mitch Kupchak decided to do. This was a Buss family decision," Jim Buss told yesterday.

"We made him the highest-paid player in the NBA because we felt like it was the right thing to do. This wasn't about what somebody else would pay him or outbidding anyone for him.

"This was to continue his legacy [with the Lakers], our legacy of loyalty to our iconic players. Loyalty is one of the values our dad instilled in us.

"It's how he ran the Lakers and how we aspire to continue to run the Lakers. It's what our fans and iconic players deserve."

Bryant has led the Lakers to five NBA championships since being picked in the first round of the draft in 1996 from Lower Merion High School - the first ever guard to be taken out of high school.

Kobe Bryant
Western Conference
LA Lakers

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