Kobe Bryant planning to play beyond next season?
Kobe Bryant is getting toward the end of his NBA career, but it is unclear exactly how many seasons he plans to continue playing. Before he suffered a torn Achilles, there was reason to believe Kobe would play out the final year of his contract next season and then walk away. A recent comment he made proves that it isn’t that simple.
During an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio Friday, Kobe hinted that the 2013-2014 season may not be his last. When asked about the possibility of Tim Duncan tying him by winning a fifth ring, Bryant gave the following response.
“My goal is to win more than five,” he said, via the LA Times. “If he does win five, hopefully that pushes our organization upstairs to be even more determined and more driven to make the necessary expenses to make sure we continue the next year and the year after that.”
Kobe would make nearly $30.5 million next season under his current deal. It’s unlikely that he will restructure his current deal, but he certainly won’t be able to make that kind of money if the Lakers extend him beyond next year. In order to make a run at high-profile free agents and bring back Dwight Howard, the team will need money.
If Bryant is serious about returning for more than just another season, he is probably going to have to accept a multiyear deal that is team-friendly. That would give him the best chance to win a sixth ring. Kobe recently said he plans to retire soon, but we have no way of knowing what soon is. One year, three years? We shall see.