Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant watches from behind the bench on Wednesday… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )
Most players in the NBA receive their salary throughout the year — but then Kobe Bryant is not a typical NBA player.
Negotiated as part of his contract, Bryant receives a balloon payment Nov. 1. On Friday, the All-Star guard will receive $24,363,044 from the Lakers.
Bryant's salary for the entire season is $30,453,805 — the remaining $6.1 million will be paid out over the course of the season.
While there's a limit to how much a player can receive in advance, Bryant is right at that 80% maximum.
Meanwhile, there's still no firm timeline for his return to the court from his Achilles' tendon tear. Bryant was injured in an April 12 win over Golden State and underwent surgery less than 12 hours later. The team projected that Bryant would be out for six to nine months.
Without him, the Lakers are 1-1 on the season after a big opening-night win over the Clippers — and an even bigger second-night flop against the Warriors.
The Lakers have every intention of re-signing Bryant beyond his current contract, which expires June 30. The bigger question is — for how much?
The team can give him an extension before July starting as low as $1.4 million and up to $32.7 million. The more the Lakers commit to Bryant, the less they can spend in free agency next summer.
Of the many questions about the Lakers — age, health, rebounding — one stood out in their ugly loss to Golden State. Their defense.
Surrendering 125 points in 48 minutes is always reason to look at the mess under the microscope.
Warriors' shooting guard Klay Thompson scored a career-high 38 points on 15-for-19 shooting as the Warriors won by 31, their largest margin ever in a season opener.
"The next time we see him, we should have a chip on our shoulder. We should have an asterisk by his name," said Jordan Farmar, who then pointed to the whiteboard in the locker room which, of course, already had an asterisk by Thompson's name.
The Lakers should know a thing or two about the Warriors, having faced them three times in exhibition season, but knowledge and execution were obviously two different concepts.
"There were too many open shots for guys that are dead-eye shooters. That just tells you something's not right," said Pau Gasol, unhappy with the Lakers' lack of energy after showing so much of it the previous night against the Clippers.
Not that the Lakers' interior defense was much better: David Lee scored 24 points on only 13 shots.
In the first two games the Lakers have surrendered 228 points.
"Let's hope it's a one-off and we can let this sour taste motivate us going forward," Farmar said.
Still the starter?
Shawne Williams was scoreless in 12 minutes Wednesday, making his two-game average 1.5 points and 2.5 rebounds as the Lakers' starting power forward.
Chris Kaman is averaging 10.5 points and six rebounds as the top big man on the bench. Is there a future switch in the works?
"I'm not considering anything right now," Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday. "After getting beat by 30, I think everything looked bad."
The Lakers did not practice Thursday.
Pincus is a Times correspondent and Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.