Matthew Yglesias is on vacation.
If basketball has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t play it. But it’s also taught me to appreciate the bananas and brilliance of the game. An example of the latter: According to SportsCenter, Kobe Bryant has negotiated his contract in such a way that he’ll be paid most of it today.
"Most of it" means $24.4 million. His total salary is just under $30.5 million.
The biggest benefit from this—said without being able to see into Bryant’s brain—is simply the time value of the money. Since the regular season runs from the end of October into April, he’s got six months of return on whatever portion of that salary would have been held from him until April. As a completely cursory point of reference, 5 percent return on $24.4 million over a year is about $1.2 million.
The move also secures him against any bankruptcy issues, or any new taxes that might creep up next year. ESPN notes that he will take-home "closer to $11 million." While the state taxes that athletes face while playing on the road raise questions that are probably fascinating to that person you only went on one date with, ESPN also says those are credited to Bryant’s California income tax, which already has the highest of any state. In other words, I don’t see how this would help Bryant tax-wise.
Oh, and did I mention that, thanks to his torn Achilles' tendon, Bryant isn’t even playing right now?
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