Heading into the 2014-15 NBA season, there were question marks about Kobe Bryant after two consecutive season-ending injuries. While the 36-year-old isn’t as efficient as he has been in the past, the five-time champion is averaging 25.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists through the first 21 games of the season.
In an extended feature on the Lakers by David Aldridge of NBA.com, general manager Mitch Kupchak believes that Kobe will retire in 2016 when his two-year contract ends:
“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.”
While the Lakers have struggled this season and are experimenting with a new lineup change, Kobe is posting numbers that haven’t been accomplished this late in an NBA career despite the poor shooting percentages. As a result, the discussion has been about whether Kobe will play beyond his current two-year, $48.5 million contract.
Kobe was recently asked about playing beyond his current contract and did not give a definite answer following the loss to the Washington Wizards. Although the Lakers are struggling this season, the franchise will have approximately $30 million in cap space to pursue free agents once again this off-season and may potentially have a top-five pick in this year’s NBA Draft.[divide]
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