The Los Angeles Lakers have not opened discussions with Kobe Bryant about a new contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The Lakers are taking a wait-and-see approach as Bryant recovers from a torn Achillies.
Only Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young are on the Lakers' books for 2014-15, meaning a spending spree awaits with potential free agents LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Luol Deng, Dirk Nowitzki, Danny Granger and Marcin Gortat.
If Bryant asks for the maximum 5% raise over his current salary, he would earn $32 million in 2014-15. The Lakers will not pay him that much. If Bryant took a dramatic pay cut and asked for $10 to $12 million for 2014-15, it would give the Lakers space to add two top-level free agents next summer.
"How long and for how much do you keep Kobe around?" NBA salary-cap expert Larry Coon said. "What's the line between loyalty to him and loyalty to making the franchise a winning team? They want to maximize their cap room. Having Kobe on the books at a big salary would really cut into their signing ability."