But Kobe insists he’ll spend the rest of his career with the Lakers – and that means probably this season and next.
Kobe, via Sam Amick of USA Today:
“Nah, not really,” he said with a grin and a shake of the head when asked if he can envision playing beyond his current contract. “But I’m so loyal to this organization, there’s not a chance (of him leaving)…I’ve been really fortunate to win a lot of games here, a lot of championships here. You can’t (expletive) with (that).”
“It’s not going to happen,” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports when asked if the temptation to change teams might still grow from here. “It’s not going to happen. You go through the good times, you’ve got to go through the bad times.”
“It’s not going to happen,” he continued after finishing with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists against the Hornets,. “I have a no-trade clause. (Lakers governor) Jeanie (Buss) and (Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations) Jimmie (Buss) aren’t sending me anywhere.”
Kobe has waffled about when he’ll retire. The 36-year-old’s contract expires after next season thanks to an extension he signed last season, the most recent indicator of his plans.
So, I’d put some stock into Kobe declaring he can’t see himself playing beyond 2015-16. But he won’t have to make that decision for a couple years, so there’s plenty of time for him to change his mind (again).
Then, if he returns for another season, he’ll face the big question. Would he change his mind about which team he’ll suit up for, too?