I Know Everything - Chapter 559
At 5pm, the Lakers left the training center one after another after they were done with the various recoveries such as physiotherapy massage etc..
The high intensity games the people saw on the TV were definitely not as easy as people thought.
Especially on the joints as it must be carefully treated even if there wasn’t any injury.
Actually, basketball players didn’t have good joints but the difference lay in the severity of the damages.
Chen Huan was young and he had the decoction to help him otherwise his joint would also be injured as he got into his 30s.
This was actually one of the reasons why Chen Huan didn’t want to play basketball full time.
Working so hard and so long just to get injuries at the end, was he that desperate?
He wasn’t short of money!
As they were leaving, Kupchak stopped Chen Huan and said he would send Chen Huan back himself so told Kobe and Iverson to leave.
Kobe knew what was going on so he shook his head and patted Chen Huan’s shoulder before leaving.
Kupchak didn’t know what Kobe’s meat was with that so he just invited Chen Huan to sit in the lounge and have some coffee.
People in the US generally didn’t beat around the bush and got straight to the matter.
Kupchak was more peculiar in his way of treating Chinese people.
He first congratulated Chen Huan for breaking Jordan’s record in the playoff and then explained what kind of bonus the boss wanted to give before he hesitantly went to the subject he wanted to talk about.
Kupchack obviously wanted to talk about the contract extension.
“Chen Huan you know, we knew you were special the moment we saw you and that you will make it in the NBA. That is why we agreed to give you the annual salary of 1 million dollars and agreed to your requirement of only playing in the playoffs.” Kupchak said, “No team would be willing to give those conditions at that time, right?”
“Right!” Chen Huan readily admitted.
The main reason the Lakers agreed was obviously Kobe’s insistence. They also thought Chen Huan could be cultivated and if they formed a good relationship with him now, it would improve their chance of resigning him.
However, they never imagined Chen Huan would play so greatly in the playoffs and was at the level of a superstar.
Chen Huan was already a superstar without the deterrence of ‘lifting people as if they were a chicken’.
So the Lakers were feeling good now.
Little Buss kept boasting his insight and talent about how he knew Chen Huan would rise up even under the intensity when he went out.
Others couldn’t refute it because the facts were right in front of them.
“Now we wish to extend the contract with you so tell me what are the conditions you want?” Kupchak gave him an eager look, “The boss is ready to pay the luxury tax.”
This was a bit unexpected.
Actually, the situation for the Lakers wasn’t that tense.
Kobe and Chen Huan already analyzed that many players on the team would be gone after winning this championship.
On top of that, the 9 years 24 billion TV deals would arrive at its term after this year so the NBA salary cap would increase greatly.
Like that, the Lakers would free up a lot of salary cap space for Iverson and Chen Huan even if they had to recruit players.
Iverson was already old so he could probably play 2 years at most so the salary of 10 million per year may be able to satisfy him but they couldn’t give him 50 million. If it was another team, giving 20 million to sign him with his current form was probably worth it.
No matter what happened, Iverson could easily get a 10 million contract the next season.
Then Chen Huan could get 20 million at least.
Kobe may retire two years later so Chen Huan could directly get 40 million or even 50 million!
So Kobe’s plan for Chen Huan was to get 20 million for the first two years before getting 35 million on the third and 50 million on the fourth and fifth years before discussing other conditions.
Kobe’s 50 million plans for Chen Huan wasn’t limited but this already showed how much confidence he had in him.
The NBA had strict regulation for the first round draft.
The team no longer could get them for a few million and with the salary cap, they may need to pay then 15 million a year.
For example, Zion, the number one pick of 2019 draft, had 8.5 million for his first year with 44.27 million in total for four years.
The problem was Chen Huan wasn’t a first round pick or even drafted.
So his contract was very flexible and not limited by being a rookie so as long as a team could afford it, it wouldn’t be a problem to give him 20 million in his second year.
However, Chen Huan didn’t expect Little Buss to gamble this heavily and was willing to go to the luxury tax for him.
This meant Little Buss was willing to give him 30 million or even more.
However, it was also a very normal decision.
The Lakers may not have the cap space for a max contract next season but other teams do.
The salary cap increased greatly and at least one team would have 30 million in cap space so what was wrong to use on a superstar like Chen Huan?
For example, the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers or even the Portland Trail Blazers who got eliminated by Chen Huan would be willing to do so.
The owner of the Clippers was Steve Ballmer, the entrepreneur partner of Bill Gates and had a fortune estimated at 30 billion USD!(I have no idea why the author wrote about Paul Allen in the raw who is another Microsoft boss.)
What would be 20 or 30 million in luxury tax if they could get a superstar like Chen Huan who could dominate the court for the next 15 years?
So the Lakers must not make Chen Huan accommodate the team’s situation.
It would be naïve to have that mentality and not realistic at all.
So Kupchak obviously said they would be willing to pay the luxury tax.
“I don’t have any demands and that much money is no use to me.” Chen Huan hummed, “I know of the favorable sentiment the owners and team have for me but I’ll still wait until the end of the playoff to consider this.”
“Listen to our offer first.”
Kupchak wasn’t surprised by Chen Huan’s response as it was already made known by Kobe but he already came up with a solution.
“The owners want you to know that no matter how this playoff run ends, the club wants to give you a five year contract.” Kupchak said, “The salary for the first two years is 30 million and it’ll be 40 million for the remaining three years, what do you think?”
“The offer… hmm, it’s very good.” Chen Huan said with a smile, “But I can’t agree to it now…Don’t be surprised Mr. Kupchak, I haven’t considered or been in contact with any other team, everything will be decided after the playoff!”
Seeing that Chen Huan was determined to wait until the postseason no matter what, Kupchak said with gritted teeth, “Kobe already discussed with the Boss. If you’re willing to remain with the team, he can take a 10 million contract next year so you can get 40 million per year! 40 million per year for 5 years and the fourth and fifth year would be a player option, what do you think?”
Chen Huan was taken aback for a bit.
Old Kobe had this trick up his sleeve?
He was really trying to keep him here and didn’t even care about his face!
Based on Kobe’s performance this year, his contract would definitely be renewed for another year or even two.
During the two years, it would be like an insult to Kobe if the Lakers gave him less than 50 million so the Lakers wouldn’t do it.
Now, he was willing to take 10 million per year, which was a huge concession!
This was like a retirement contract and completely didn’t match Kobe who still was at the level of a superstar!
This showed Kobe’s determination and sincerity.
The Lakers were also going crazy as they were willing to give Chen Huan 40 million per year for 5 years only after he played two games, it was a 200 million USD contract!
Moreover, the fourth and fifth year were player options so it meant if Chen Huan was unhappy with the Lakers, he could opt out of the contract and join other teams who would pay just as much.
But the Lakers had no choice but to go through this five year and 200 million contract!
Honestly, Chen Huan may have been tempted to play for a year or two if it wasn’t for the fact that the NBA was in the US.
Because if he agreed to play, he would have to spend 9 months every year in the US at least.
This was unbearable.
Everything he had and knew was back in the country so why would he be there alone?
So Chen Huan still shook his head in front of the expectant face of Kupchak.
His determination couldn’t be shaken by money!
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