A lot has been made about the Lakers potential salary cap space following this season. They have strategically taken on very little past the 2013-2014 season, and have decided to take a "wait and see" approach with Kobe Bryant's contract. This of course comes after the 17 year vet suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, so the team will want to see how he looks before negotiating.
While Bryant did say he doesn't want to take a pay cut, the general thought is he only said that for negotiating leverage. Some of the biggest names have been rumored to be targets for the Lakers free agent acquisitions in 2014, so it will be interesting to see if Mamba sticks around (heavy odds are he will.)
If Bryant asks for the maximum 5% raise over his current salary, he would earn $32 million in 2014-15. The Lakers won’t pay him that much, especially as he comes off a torn Achilles’, because it would seriously dent their salary-cap space. Bryant alone at that cost would take up almost half the estimated $62.5-million cap for NBA teams in 2014-15.
If he took a dramatic pay cut and asked for $10 million to $12 million for 2014-15, it would give the Lakers space to add two top-level free agents next summer.