The amount of money Kobe was paid and salary cap has nothing to do with the Lakers failure. Dr. Buss, who has passed, always took better care of his players than anyone else. Playing in LA still is a high value target for a player, but not as high as it use to be because of social media and 24 hr news cycle. Players can make endorsement money anywhere now. Paying Kobe 50 million for two years was a hell of an investment for the Lakers that kept them the number one or two valued NBA franchise. Gambling on a couple of superstars backfired with losses of draft picks and some questionable bench player signings. I think it will be multiple years before the Lakers contend again which saddens me.