Kobe, 35, is making $30.5 million this season, which is by far the highest amount in the league. He is returning from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon injury.
Buss told the OC Register’s TJ Simers that the team will allow Bryant to become a free agent next summer so they can sign first other players and then bring back Bryant. A day later, Buss tried to reassure everyone that Kobe isn’t going anywhere.
Buss told ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne that GM Mitch Kupchak and Kobe’s agent have been talking. He also delivered this strong quote, saying the Lakers aren’t done
“I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told Shelburne on Friday night. “That’s not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He’s a Laker legend and always will be. I don’t think we’re done winning championships with him yet.”