Are the Guaranteed Contracts Hurting the Lakers’ Chance to Trade?


Now that the NBA Finals have ended and the Larry O’Brien trophy has found a new home for the next year in Dallas, focus has turned to the collective bargaining agreement that needs to be renewed between the owners and the NBA Players Association.  The main issue involves salary caps of NBA teams.  Owners want to decrease the salary cap and the players want to be paid as they see as a fair market salary.  Rumor has it that the two sides are greatly separated and an agreement will most likely take time to reach.  This is something NBA fans are dreading, just as NFL fans are upset that their sport may not kick off in September as scheduled.

Guaranteed contracts can be viewed either as a positive or a negative.  It depends on who you ask.  It is positive from the player’s perspective because the player has a sense of financial security and a sense that he is of value to the organization.  It can be viewed as a negative from the owner’s perspective because they are locked into a typically high-priced contract.  If the player’s performance declines or he gets injured, a guaranteed contract can become a financial disaster for the owner.

The Lakers are facing a bit of a tricky situation this summer.  Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown are the only two players who have player options, but both are expected to return.  There are currently eight players who have guaranteed contracts through at least the 2011-2012 season.  These players include Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton, and Steve Blake.  With the disappointing departure and performance in this postseason, it is safe to say that anyone of these players, with the exception of Kobe Bryant, could possibly go up on the trading block.

This could mean sending these players off with quite a severance package.  Below lists the salaries of the eight guaranteed contract Lakers and Brown and Barnes’ salary if they both opt to stay in Los Angeles.

Player Option / Early Termination Option / Team Option / Qualifying Offer Non-guaranteed

Player 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Kobe Bryant $24,806,250 $25,240,000 $27,840,000 $30,450,000
Pau Gasol $17,823,000 $18,714,150 $19,000,000 $19,285,850
Andrew Bynum $13,700,000 $14,900,000 $16,100,000
Lamar Odom $8,200,000 $8,900,000 $8,200,000
Ron Artest $6,322,320 $6,790,640 $7,258,960 $7,727,280
Luke Walton $5,260,000 $5,680,000 $5,800,000
Steve Blake $4,000,000 $4,000,000 $4,000,000 $4,000,000
Derek Fisher $3,700,000 $3,400,000 $3,400,000
Shannon Brown $2,149,200 $2,374,866
Matt Barnes $1,765,000 $1,906,200

Source: Chart Provided By HOOPSWORLD.com

However, it is yet unknown what the agreed upon salary cap will be for NBA teams due to an unresolved collective bargaining agreement.  This will affect what trades and acquisitions that the Lakers could make this off-season.  With the number of the high-priced guaranteed contracts that the Lakers have, necessary changes to the roster may have to wait.

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