Will the Lakers keep Kobe?

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant walks off the court after Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

There’s an excellent overview by Henry Abbott on TrueHoop about the Lakers’ quandary once a new CBA is agreed upon.

Although new CBA rules will likely come with a phase-in period, and rollbacks of existing salaries may provide some relief to the team, there is no scenario on the table in the CBA talks where the Lakers will be able to keep outspending rivals as they have. A stated league goal is to level the competitive playing field, which can only be achieved by tweaking the market to permit less talent on teams like the Lakers, and more talent on teams like the Kings. Tough choices loom, complicated by the fact that though he continues to play like a star, Bryant, is poised to become so overpaid as to flirt with “bad contract” status.

The piece goes into detail about Kobe’s recent performance, the mileage on his knees, and how his contract will negatively impact the Lakers in the short term.

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