Over the course of the NBA off-season and throughout his time playing for Team USA this summer, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant has been asked about his future in the NBA. With only two years remaining on his current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe seems content with walking away from the game once that contract expires.
At that time, Kobe will be 35 years-old and perhaps ready to move on. The addition of two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and potentially superstar center Dwight Howard definitely increases the Lakers’ chances of winning an NBA title in the next few years, but if Kobe doesn’t win that elusive sixth NBA championship, tying Michael Jordan, the future Hall of Famer is likely to retire regardless.
According to Mike Wise of The Washington Post, Kobe isn’t going to chase a sixth ring if he hasn’t won it over the next two years:
“I’m just going to, like, hold on for dear life?” Bryant said when I asked if he would stick around till he won another title. “I’m not the type of guy to do that. I’ll give you the great effort, my best effort, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
Obviously, there’s no telling what will happen over the next two seasons in Los Angeles. The addition of Nash and possibly Howard may turn the Lakers back into the most dominant force in the NBA and will almost certainly take a lot of pressure off Kobe in terms of the offensive workload.
With Kobe’s job potentially becoming a bit easier, the superstar guard may consider extending his career after his contract officially expires. As of right now, that doesn’t appear to be in Kobe’s plans as he seems content with simply walking away with five titles after two more years.
It remains to be seen if Nash’s presence has an immediate impact next season, but if it does and the Lakers are able to bring in Howard, the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer may reconsider sticking around.