The Los Angeles Lakers owe Kobe Bryant an NBA-high $25 million next season, and Bryant says the thought of leaving all that dough on the table and retiring has “crossed” his mind.

Kobe has endured a predictably frustrating campaign on an awful Laker team, with little hope for significant improvement in the immediate future.

He says that although it’s unlikely that he’ll walk away before the 2015-’16 season, anything is possible.

Per the LA Times:

When asked whether he has considered retiring at the end of this season, one year before the end of his Lakers contract, he nods his head in agreement. […] “I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t crossed my mind,” he says. “Right now I doubt it … but anything’s possible.” […] “My body is hurting like crazy, around the clock, and if I don’t want to do this anymore, I won’t do it,” he says.

 

“The Achilles’ rupture gives you a lot of perspective, I think the Achilles’ issue scared everyone,” he says, speaking of Lakers officials. “They don’t want to wear the tendons down, because you just can’t see that coming, there’s no warning: Pow! It’s gone. We understand how a player can rupture an Achilles’ then rupture the other one, we’re very conscious of that type of stuff.”

 

If he can stay sound under the current restrictions, he says, he could be also be a factor in the recruiting of any potential free agents who could help him make one last playoff run if he sticks around next season. […] “It’s important for free agents to see how I can adjust my game, because that’s always the question mark, right?” says Bryant. “Are they going to get the old grumpy guy who is going to want to shoot the ball all the time? No, they’re not. It’s important for free agents to see that my determination comes from self-assessing, from saying, ‘OK, I’ll do this.'”