Bryant would earn $27.4 million in 2011-12, $30.2 million the following season and more than $32 million in his final year, when he would be 35.
“Good news,” coach Phil Jackson said. “I expected that Kobe would sign. It’s a good choice for him and the organization.”
The deal means the Lakers achieved two main objectives going into the season — signing Bryant and 7-foot center Pau Gasol to extensions.
“We were able to accomplish those goals, helping to keep the core of this team intact for the foreseeable future and in turn help to ensure the franchise’s continued success over the years to come,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said.
Gasol signed his own three-year extension in December that extends through the 2013-14 season. He is making $16.5 million this season and $17.8 million next year. His new deal likely will pay him around $20 million per season.
“It’s a great thing,” Gasol said about Bryant’s deal. “I really had no doubt he was going to get it done. It makes all of us happy.”
Kupchak said Gasol’s signing was a factor in Bryant staying on.
“It’s a great compliment that I had an influence on Kobe wanting to re-sign,” the Spaniard said.
The 31-year Bryant could have terminated the last two years of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent last July. He also had the option to become a free agent this summer.
Kupchak said neither side wanted the negotiations to extend into the playoffs, which begin April 17 when the Lakers open defense of their NBA championship.
“My position all along is that Kobe started as a Laker and he should end his career as a Laker,” he said. “We’re fairly assured now that he will end his career as a Laker. Of course in four years, he’ll be 35-years-old and maybe we’ll go do this again or there’ll be an option for him to do something else.”
Bryant is averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season. He’s helped the Lakers win four NBA titles, including last season when he was the Finals MVP.
The 12-time All-Star was voted league MVP in 2008, when he helped the U.S. win a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. This season, he moved past Jerry West to become the Lakers’ career scoring leader.
The West-leading Lakers are coming off a 2-3 road trip and hosted the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Bryant wasn’t available to speak before the game.
Jackson said Bryant’s deal has no impact on his own possible extension. Jackson plans to evaluate his future after the season ends, when he’ll have his annual checkup. He turns 65 in September.
“I personally sat down with Phil and indicated I’d love to have him back,” Kupchak said. “It really falls into his lap and his timeline.”