It looks like Kobe Bryant is going to be a Laker for life. Making a move that nobody was really expecting, the Lakers just announced that they have signed Bryant to a two-year extension, and he didn't come cheap.
ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne reports that Kobe will make $23.5 million next year, and $25 million the following year. As things stand now, Kobe will be the highest-paid player in the league over the next two seasons.
In case you somehow forgot, this is a 35-year-old shooting guard who is still recovering from a torn achilles tendon, an injury that is very difficult to fully recover from! It's certainly possible that Kobe returns from injury and plays at a high level for the next two years, but it's also just as likely that the Lakers have just plunked down $48.5 million for the most expensive farewell tour in league history.
But even if Kobe ends his career playing like garbage, we can't throw too much mud at the Lakers. It's not like they are the only team that's overpaying for an aged and damaged former superstar. The two players that Kobe just vaulted over in the salary column to become the league's top-paid player are Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire.