Kobe Bryant Is Done With The Lakers After This Coming Season
Lakers star Kobe Bryant told his general manager that this upcoming season would be his last with the team.In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that Bryant, "has indicated to me that this is it." The coming 2015-2016 season is the final year of his current deal with the Lakers—one where he's due $25 million for a season he'll be starting at the age of 37.
"There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be," Kupchak added.
According to ESPN, Bryant's last three seasons had been shorted due to injuries. This past NBA season, Kobe played only 35 games before suffering a shoulder injury in January. Although Kupchak never explicitly said Bryant would retire after his deal ran out, it's unlikely most teams would want to sign the aging superstar at the price he would likely command.
With Bryant out for so long and a poor roster otherwise, the Lakers had their worst season in franchise history this past season after going 21-61. That poor record, though, earned them the #2 pick in the draft lottery for the upcoming NBA Draft. The eventual departure of Bryant and the amount of money allocated to his salary combined with the high draft pick could bode well for the Lakers' future.
If Bryant retired today he'd finish his career with five NBA Championships, an MVP award, 17 All-Star appearances, and be third on the all-time scoring list in NBA history. In 2003 he was accused of sexual assault.