In a move designed to re-sign him for cheaper, Kobe Bryant will become a free agent when his contract is up.
The Lakers are still waiting to see what Kobe will be like when he returns from his Achilles injury, and the Lakers guard had said this past summer that he doesn't intend on taking a paycut, it's believed that was only posturing for negotiations.
Regardless of the outcome of this season, and at this time things look fairly bleak for the Lakeshow in 2013-2014, the team will take as much money as they can off the books, which includes letting Kobe become a free agent, and attempt to lure some marquee talent. Then they will sign KB24 at a discounted price.
He becomes a free agent at the end of the season, and Jim Buss says because of the pay structure of the NBA, the Lakers will allow Kobe to become a free agent.
He says he has talked to Kobe and believes they have an understanding, Bryant waiting as a free agent while the team spends to upgrade and then using what is left over to pay Kobe.
This simply sounds like the Lakers are following the Heat's playbook of 2010, but the problem here is that Jim Buss is no Pat Riley, and certainly no Dr. Jerry Buss. If Bryant shows some serious signs of decline in play after his injury, then who knows how Jim Buss and the franchise will react. Also, it's a tough sell to get players, like a Carmelo Anthony for instance, to chase a championship on your team if no championship pieces are in place.
Odds are, Kobe will just end up re-signing with the Lakers, but this is far from a guaranteed deal.