When Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles back in April, some people were questioning whether this would be the last time we’d see the Black Mamba. Some said he was too old to come back from such a devastating injury, while others felt that the Lakers may amnesty Bryant this summer and save themselves millions of dollars in luxury tax.
Bryant, as always, was – and is – thinking very differently.
While Kobe’s current contract expires in 2014, Bryant is said to be intent on having “two more cracks” at winning an NBA title, according to an ESPN report:
[pullquote]Bryant wants to be “back next season with a vengeance,” the source said. And he wants “two more cracks at it to win seven NBA titles at least.”
In other words, it’s highly unlikely next season will be his last. Bryant and Derek Fisher lead all active players with five NBA titles, although the Spurs’ Tim Duncan could tie them if San Antonio beats the Miami Heat in this year’s Finals.[/pullquote]
Next season is the final year of Bryant’s contract, so he obviously has plans to play beyond 2014 if he wants to have two more tries at another ring.
The summer of 2014 is when the Lakers plan to be major players in the free agent market, which could be headlined by big names such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Bryant will make $30 million next season, so he’d probably have to take less money in 2014 and beyond in order for the Lakers to fill the roster with top talent. If it meant that Bryant would have a chance to win another ring or two, it seems plausible that he may take a pay cut of some kind.