Recent events show that money isn't necessarily the predominant influence for free agents. Denver wanted to re-sign Iguodala for five years at a reported $60 million ($52 million guaranteed), but he agreed to a four-year deal reportedly worth $48 million from the Warriors, who upset his Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs just nine weeks ago.
The Spurs have remained in contention for 16 straight years by establishing a similar formula. Duncan, the greatest power forward in history and currently an All-NBA first-teamer, was paid a bargain $9.6 million last season. Tony Parker, an MVP candidate at point guard, made $12.5 million. Manu Ginobili, a future Hall of Famer, recently agreed to return for $14 million over two years. All three stars have left money on the table to maintain the premium working conditions they've established together in San Antonio.
But then, at the same time, there will be the inner voice that wants to win as many or more championships than Michael Jordan, and it will be pleading with Bryant to take less money in order to win additional titles. The debate will rage within him: What is the value of money?