Kobe Bryant likely will retire after 2016, Lakers GM says
The veteran shooting guard won’t be around beyond the 2015-16 season, according to Mitch Kupchak.
Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring this season at age 36, but the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t counting on him being around after his contract ends following the 2015-16 campaign. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack told David Aldridge of NBA.com that Bryant is likely to retire when his current deal expires.
“All indications are, to me, from him, that this (two-year contract) is going to be it,” Kupchak said. “If somebody’s thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that. Don’t wait. Do it this year.”
Lakers coach Bryon Scott had previously said he hopes the franchise can convince Bryant to return after his contract expires. Bryant is earning $23.5 million this season and will make $25 million next year.
While Bryant’s individual performance has been remarkable as he returns from a torn Achilles and knee surgery, the Lakers are in the middle of one of the organization’s worst seasons ever. Los Angeles is 5-16 overall, ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference standings.
Bryant is averaging over 22 shot attempts per game this season, and is making only 38.9 percent of them. He has scored 20 or more points in 16 of the 21 games he’s played in this year.