Hey, it's pretty cool what money can buy you, the best team on the planet...
Now wait a second there old man... The Lakers are a far cry from the Yankees. This team is hardly anything close to "what money can buy you". Like Scott already pointed out, Payton is playing for the mid-level exception (or something like that), which is about $3 mill. FAR below what he'd make from any other team, and probably even below the league average. Then take Malone, he's playing for like 1.5 million, which is practically the league minimum. We didn't go out and "buy" those guys. Both of those guys came to us and begged to play for us for practically free.
As for the other two big guys, Kobe we picked up right out of high school - in a trade with Charlotte for Vlade Divac of all people. So we didn't "buy" him either. Yeah, he blossomed and Jerry Buss (Laker's owner) threw the necessary money at him in order to keep him as a Laker when his initial contract expired. Any owner does the same thing with his superstar player(s) if/when he can.
Shaq's the only player we went out and "bought" off the free agent market YEARS ago. Again, we re-upped his contract when it originally expired, like anyone would. In fact, with the exception of him, we've not really picked up anyone major on the free agent market (for retail value) since well before our Championship run over 5 years ago. Even Fisher's "home grown". Been with us since his rookie year.
Sorry, but comparing what Jerry Buss does with the Lakers, and what George Steinbrenner does with the Yankees, is totally unfair and incorrect. Two VERY different things. Buss just takes care of his own, and with the winning we've experienced, aging superstars are approaching us
in an effort to ride Kobe and Shaq's coattails to their first ever ring.
I suppose with Phil Jackson, we kinda "bought" him, but he also very much wanted to come to us as well. Not that he's even a very good coach, but that's an entirely seperate discussion.
Bummer to see the Pistons go down tonight. 2-2 there. Nervous time for Detroit with home court back in the Pacers hands...