Having suffered his third consecutive season-ending injury, it looks as if the end is near for Kobe Bryant. Next season is the last of his two-year contract extension, and many believe that will likely be his final year.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott, however, is a firm believer in the talent of Kobe and according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, believes Kobe is capable of playing beyond his current contract:
Byron said he believes Kobe can play at least one more year beyond his contract
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 19, 2015
This is not Scott saying that Kobe actually will decide to play beyond his contract, but rather that he believes Bryant could play if he chose to. While Bryant’s efficiency slipped this season, he showed that he is still among the upper echelon of players and was beginning to adjust his game as he began realizing his body’s limitations.
Next season will be an interesting one for the Lakers. Though they were not a part of massive amount of trade deadline trades, that included multiple big-name players being moved, the team still has multiple draft picks and salary cap space that could help turn the team around relatively quickly.
If the Lakers are able to surround Kobe with some more talent who can take the offensive pressure away from him, it could allow Kobe to play a little longer as he takes a lesser role. Whether Kobe actually wants to play past next season will be the big question however.[divide]