Lakers News: Lakers To Negotiate Contract With Kobe Before Free Agency

kobe2Reports of the Los Angeles Lakers allowing Kobe Bryant to become a free agent this next summer may be false.

Reportedly, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the Lakers have begun contract extension talks with Kobe:

Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said Friday that the team has started talks with Bryant’s representative on a contract extension for the five-time NBA champion and fully expects a new deal to be completed before the star guard can become a free agent on July 1, 2014.

The team starting contract talks with Bryant is surprising to say the least. Although his value to the team doesn’t have a price tag, injured or not, the superstar has yet to play a single game since tearing his Achilles near the end of last season.

With that being said, the Lakers have no idea what they’ll be getting with the 35-year-old once able to return to the floor.

Initially, the goal for this storied franchise was to clear as much cap space as possible heading into NBA free agency in July of 2014. With so many contracts, including Bryant and Pau Gasol, coming off the books next summer the team may have an opportunity to bring in one or potentially two superstars to help rebuild this team into a perennial title contender moving forward.

It’s no secret at this point in time that the Bryant era in Los Angeles is coming to an end. The five-time NBA champion may still have something left in the tank, but the writing is on the wall at the Staples Center and the Lakers seemed ready to rebuild.

As a result of the current contract talks with Bryant, it has become clear that the team intends to lock him up before he can hit the open market. Although there’s been no indication he would head elsewhere, the Lakers are showing their loyalty by reaching out and attempting to get a deal done to secure his long-term future with the team.

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