Kobe Bryant has said he is done after this two-year contract.
No doubt he means and believes that. Right now. But plenty of people both around Kobe and around the league think it’s not going to be that simple, that the ultra-competitive Kobe, a guy who loves the process and challenge of playing in the NBA at his age, is not just going to be able to flip the switch and turn it off.
Maybe Byron Scott is in that camp. The Lakers’ coach thinks he and Lakers management might be able to persuade Kobe to stick around. Here is what Scott said Wednesday, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“We’ll talk about that. You guys have watched him play. He has a lot left in that tank,” Scott said before the Lakers (4-13) play the Washington Wizards (11-5) at Verizon Center. “If we put something together that excites him, we’ll have a real good chance of him saying he’ll play another year and give it another shot. That’s what we plan to do.”
He added this (via the AP):
“He’s still hungry. He still loves the game. He still loves the competition. He still loves going against these younger guys now because he was once that younger guy,” Scott said.
Count me among the skeptics that the Lakers can put together a team that will interest Kobe to stick around in the next two years. That’s a hard mountain to climb.
Right now, Kobe believes this is his last contract. He has no doubt he plays this year and next then walks away into the world of business. Maybe he does. But two years is an eternity around the NBA and maybe come the summer of 2016 Kobe will not be able to walk away so easily, he could have a change of heart and think he wants to go one more round, go hard after one more ring. Whether or not he does it in purple and gold.
But right now all of that is just speculation. Including from the Lakers’ coach.