Kobe extension will hamper Lakers

Making 35-year-old with Achilles injury highest-paid player not smart

Updated: November 25, 2013, 11:34 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider

Turns out Kobe Bryant has 48.5 million reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

Despite suffering last April one of the most devastating injuries a basketball player can have, Bryant signed a $48.5 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. As it stands now, the new deal will make the 35-year-old the NBA's highest-paid player through the 2015-16 season, all before he even takes the court this season.

By all indications, Bryant still is some way from returning to the court, but the Lakers felt compelled to lock up him long term. The $48.5 million question is: Why?