Kobe Bryant will be a free agent next summer and the Lakers have yet to begin any contract negotiations with the five time champion. However, there shouldn’t be a problem in hashing out a new deal when the time comes.
According to Mitch Kupchak, the Black Mamba has “made it clear” that he wants to retire as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The following transcript is courtesy of Lakers.com:
[pullquote]Q: On any contract extension talks with Kobe:
Kupchak: There have been no contract extension talks (with Kobe). I would suspect that at some point this season, we’ll sit down, whether it be Kobe and I, or Kobe and his representative, Rob Pelinka, and talk about the roadmap for the future. But Kobe has made it clear that he intends to retire in a Laker uniform, and I know as an organization, we feel the same way.[/pullquote]
It’s been known for some time that both Kobe and the Lakers want the Black Mamba to retire as a member of the purple and gold, but it’s always good to hear the team’s general manager reiterate this intention.
Kupchak went on to say that Bryant has certain expectations, and if he isn’t able to return at a high level, then he won’t want to continue playing. However, this is obviously not expected to be the outcome of Kobe’s return. Kupchak also confirmed that there has been no setbacks in Bryant’s recovery.