Phil Jackson has never been one to hold his tongue when it comes to his former players (just read one of his books), and it seems that the Zen Master hasn’t shied away from such statements despite being a couple years removed and retired from the game.
In a recent interview with NBATV’s Rick Fox, ironically one of Phil’s former players, the coach stated that he feels that the Lakers overpaid Kobe Bryant when re-signing him to a two-year contract extension earlier this season.
Jackson did not disagree with the decision to re-sign Bryant, just with the amount with which he signed for.
“You got to have a guy on the team that doesn’t settle for second,” Jackson stated in the interview, giving Bryant props for his dedication and drive. “That’s one of the areas where the value of Kobe, even at this age, is terrific.”
Still, despite Bryant’s distaste of settling for second, Jackson believes that his former organization paid too much for the Mamba’s services, especially at his age.
“They paid him more than I would have gone for,” he stated simply.
With his new contract, Bryant is set to make $48.5 million over the next two seasons, which will be his 19th and 20th (WOW) in the NBA.
The move to re-sign Kobe to such a monster contact is an interesting one to say the least, considering that it will likely largely limit what the Lakers are able to do in free agency.
For a man that claims to be all about rings, one would think that Bryant could should have taken slightly less in order to increase the Lakers’ chances of competing both in the free agency market, and in the league at large.
Kobe’s contract wasn’t the only controversial issue Jackson touched on in the interview. When asked if he thought Dwight Howard would have stayed (signed an extension) in Los Angeles if he were the coach, Jackson replied:
“There’s a good chance that would have happened.”