Kobe Bryant Hints at Not Retiring After Next Season

by June 10, 2013

Surprising absolutely no one, Kobe Bryant is indicating that next year won’t be his last in the NBA. Bryant says he’ll play until his wins his sixth NBA championship. Per the LA Times (via ESPN Radio): “Bryant, whose deal expires after this season, spoke about the possibility of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan tying the Lakers guard with five NBA titles. ‘My goal is to win more than five,’ said Bryant. ‘If he does win five, hopefully that pushes our organization upstairs to be even more determined and more driven to make the necessary expenses to make sure we continue the next year and the year after that.’ Bryant has been hinting at retirement for some time now, perhaps as early as after next season. The Lakers are hoping to lure a top-flight free agent in the summer of 2014. To have the cap space necessary do so, the Lakers won’t be able to pay Bryant anything close to the $30.5 million he would be due if he does decide to return for another year. Then again, if the Lakers are unable to land a player like LeBron James, who might not even opt out of his contract, they could delay their cap plans until 2015, when players like Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo and possibly James could hit the market. If that’s the case, perhaps Bryant has another payday coming from the Lakers, even if it’s for one final season. […] Bryant is still recovering from April 13 surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon, and is now wearing a custom-made shoe. ‘It’s coming along well,’ said Bryant. ‘I’m progressing. I’m still walking somewhat like a baby giraffe but I’m getting around a little bit more. Nike kind of built a special sole in it for me that has a heel-lift, so I can walk around and keep the tendon compressed somewhat.'”