Thanks to Bryant's payroll-devouring $48.5-million contract over the next two seasons, the Lakers will have little financial wiggle room to upgrade their roster.
They'll be able to add one maximum-salaried player, but not two, which could make the difference between being a middle-of-the-pack playoff team and a title contender.
This could have been avoided had Bryant, who will have made roughly $280 million in salary for his career by the end of this season, been willing to take the approach of
Instead, Bryant had to go all Gordon Gekko, apparently needing a few more yachts to water ski behind.
Bryant said he wanted the Lakers to improve appreciably by next season, which seems unlikely given that
The Lakers have to be careful about overspending this summer so that they can remain in play for the more attractive haul of free agents that will be available in 2015.
Bryant's $25-million salary for the 2015-16 season, when he will be 37, ensures that the Lakers will be able to add only one top-tier free agent, preventing the formation of their next Big Three and decreasing the likelihood of Bryant winning a sixth championship ring.
On the day he signed what will likely be his final
With one exception, of course.