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Kobe Bryant hints he will play beyond next season

Jun 9, 2013, 12:31 AM EDT

Lakers guard Bryant jogs onto the floor prior to the start of an NBA basketball game against Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis Reuters

Kobe Bryant certainly hinted more than once he might hang it up after next season.

However did you really think a guy that competitive would walk away? Now his Achilles tendon injury oddly makes it more likely he will return.

Kobe does not want his final image on the court to be him slowed because of an injury. So he may come back for a season or two after his current contract expires next summer. That’s what he hinted at with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio (as transcribed by Eric Pincus at the Los Angeles Times). The question was about Tim Duncan possibly getting a fifth ring.

“My goal is to win more than five,” said Bryant. “If he does win five, hopefully that pushes our organization upstairs to be even more determined and more driven to make the necessary expenses to make sure we continue the next year and the year after that.”

The Lakers would gladly welcome Kobe back for a year or two more, although he would have to take a Tim Duncan/Kevin Garnett pay cut to return.

Of course, the other question is “does Dwight Howard want him back?” If Howard does return to the Lakers, would a somewhat slowed Kobe (you’re not quite the same player at his age after this surgery) be willing to cede some of the power on the team to Howard? Can they co-exist? Because if the Lakers are going to win a ring for Kobe in the next couple years they are going to need Howard and some other pieces to stay healthy and contribute.

Just something to watch as the Lakers head into the summer of 2014. The only guys that would be on the payroll for the Lakers that year would be Steve Nash and potentially Howard. It’s a chance for the Lakers to reshape the roster. But they would have to deal with Kobe early because he is a massive cap hold under the CBA that could mess with their plans.

  1. logisticalvoices - Jun 9, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    This Laker team is in shambles. Kobe’s contract is the elephant in the room. The Lakers will end up paying a premium to a player with diminishing skills. Howard, even if he stays, may never be the anchor that they are looking for. Beyond that, they have almost nothing for the future. They may have to bottom out before things get better for them.

    • moseskkim - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:01 AM

      I absolutely despise this argument of Kobe’s contract being such an issue. Yeah it sucks from a cap standpoint. But it’s not like they dont go wayyy over the cap anyways. Bigger point is its Kobe freakin Bryant. The biggest star since Jordan. U don’t give those players any less than max length max money contracts. U give rashard Lewis, arenas max money a few million less overall than kobe but don’t give kobe the max? U live with those results good or bad. Did they know he’ll get hurt? No, but he’s gonna come back strong and is still gonna make the lakers huge money and contribute albeit a little less than his usual high level.

    • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      nearly led the league in scoring…yeah how bout those diminishing skills.

      • anhdazman - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:46 AM

        How did his team do again? Individual numbers means what? Now coming off a major injury. If Drama DH12 bolts what are you left with? Injury prone Nash and MWP. Bench that has no young talent and NO DRAFT picks. NO CAP room.
        Funny thing is I keep reading delusional Laker fans wanting Bynum back! Hahahaha!

      • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        why are you talking about the team, when the point was whether kobe still had the individual skills ?

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        money2long

        He nearly led the league in scoring because he is a volume scorer. Kobe actually shot .463 percent from the floor this year, which is quite good for him and above his career average of .454 percent.

        Still, with his .463 percent shooting, Kobe jacked up 1,595 shots this year and only hit 738 of them.

        We all know there is only so much time in an NBA game. There are only so many possessions in a game and a team only gets so many shot attempts in a game.

        The Lakers averaged a bit over 80 shots a game this year and Kobe averaged over 20 shots a game himself. Yes, he took a tad over 25% of the teams shots this year.

        Dwight Howard’s field goal percentage this year was .581 percent which was basically at his career shooting percentage of .577%.

        Had Dwight taken the 1,595 field goal attempts that Kobe did this year, he would have made 927 shots instead of the 738 shots that Kobe made on the same number of attempts.

        Dwight would have averaged just over 5 more points to his scoring average by taking the same number of shots as Kobe. See, it’s easy to score more when you shoot more.

        A .581 shooting percentage is much better than a .463 shooting percentage and the Lakers gave a full quarter of their shots to a .463 shooter.

        Dwight was 12th in the league in shooting percentage. Kobe finished 133rd in the league in shooting percentage.

        Also, I know Steve Nash only played in 50 games this year due to his injuries, but he is a fantastic shooter who just missed the 50/90/40 club this year that he’s been in several times in his career. It’s where one shoots 50% from the field, 90% from the free throw line and 40% from 3 point range. Steve was well above on the free throws (just about led the league) and well above from 3 point range. He “only” shot .497% from the field this year.

        Nash only attempted 9.5 shots a game in the 50 games he played.

        Had Nash doubled that to Kobe’s level and shot 20 shots per game, it would have meant many more points for the Lakers just like if Dwight were to have taken as many shots as Kobe.

        I know I’ve said a lot, but I’ll finish with a football analogy. If a team had two running backs and one of them averaged 3.1 yards per carry and the other averaged 4.9 yards per carry, they don’t give the guy averaging 3.1 yards per carry 20 rushing attempts per game and only give the guy averaging 4.9 4 or 5 attempts per game…

        But in basketball, volume scorers are alright. Carmelo Anthony is even worse than Kobe as he only shot .449 % from the field this year. He won the scoring title because he jacked up over 22 shots per game. He barely beat Durant for the scoring title. Durant only took 17 something shots a game. Had Durant averaged one more shot attempt per game, he would have easily surpassed Melo’s scoring average.

      • loungefly74 - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        @sportsfan18 , your logic then says to play with 5 Centers….or have the Guards never shoot a basket. That’s just not how basketball is played. Not every shot can be a high % shot. You are correct that the closer you are to the basket, the higher the % but like i said, not every shot can be in the paint…

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:56 AM

      Kobe is still a top 10 player, I say Lakers want him back too, that is how it is
      when you have 5ive, not four, not three but 5ive championships.
      and remember, homie stepped to the line and hit his free throws when he
      couldn’t even walk!

      • therealhtj - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Two dumbest FT’s of his career. They could’ve subbed in someone else to take them and then NOT had to foul Steph Curry in what was already a very close game. It was a zero-sum-gain at best, those FT’s. Had he not behaved in his usual self-absorbed manner, the team would’ve been better for it.

    • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      kobe..is still ..an all star game starter. kobe ..can still ..log many minutes. kobe ..can still ..be willing to tell his coach to guard the game’s young players. kobe.. can still… be a franchise player.

      that is the point.

      i don’t understand why you’re bringing up all these weird numbers that do not disprove what the fact of the matter is. kobe can STILL ball. he is known to be defying time. charles barkley said years ago that kobe was done, until kobe proved him wrong and is still part of the forefront of the NBA. when you think NBA, kobe still comes to mind. unlike, no disrespect, a ray allen who was an all star yet has his skills diminished. or a KG who is thinking about retiring, who was a dominant player. kobe is still THAT guy. that is the point. he can still play at an elite level. and watching him this season, it is clear he still has a lot in the tank. stop it with your stats. diminished skills my arse.

      • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        to @ sportsfan18

      • badintent - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:00 AM

        YOU mean Charles was wrong about Kobe ? Charles wrong ? Please don’t tell him , he would go golfing and killing lots of animals

  2. glink123 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    yeah… Kobe needs Dwight, because D12 won all those rings in Orlando…

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Without Dwight the Lakers are a 6-7 seed and out in the first round next year. Plus, without Dwight you have no trade assets if you want to rebuild. You have cap space in 2014 but LeBron isn’t coming and it’s not that easy to build a team fast that way. The Lakers and Kobe need Dwight. Badly.

      • jackntorres - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        So you talked to Lebron? Thats cool.

      • jackntorres - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Like he would never switch from Wade and Bosh for Bryant and Howard right? Because Wade was soooooo much better than Kobe this year (sarcasm). And Bosh is sooooo much tougher than Howard (more sarcasm).

      • loungefly74 - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        an organization like the Lakers have a lot of cards up their sleeve. I’m not going to sell them short just yet. let’s see what happens this off-season…

  3. funktron2x - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Guy cannot handle listing our being behind anyone. It will be his downfall. If you ask me, it already was when he played all those minutes and pushed his body beyond its limit.

    • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      i respect a guy pushing his body. you probably just finished eating a large pizza on your hammock before typing that

      • hickoryhigh - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        Hammock – that was awesome!

  4. badintent - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    He plays more , only if Vanessa lets him……………………. for another $5 million block of ice.

  5. deavn - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    …?

  6. 00maltliquor - Jun 9, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    Of course, the other question is “does Dwight Howard want him back?
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Who gives AF if Howard wants him back or not!!?? Howard don’t run this!!!

    Kobe, please give us a few more years. IDC if you only average 15/4/4 in 24-30 a night, I’m not ready to say goodbye.

    • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:22 AM

      it’s so harrrrrd…to say goodbyyyyee. to yesterdaaaaayyyyy eeeeeeee.

      • spthegr8 - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:27 AM

        @malt & money
        Is it just me or is this Achilles injury a blessing in disguise??? Not that you ever need to fire up the Mamba but by his recent interviews he sounds HUNGRY as EVER!!! & now he is talking about playing a cpl extra years??? ( he will have to take a pay cut ) but all things considered, if we get him too play a cpl of extra yrs anywhere NEAR what he did this past year. Then it was DEFINATELY a blessing!!

      • therealhtj - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        He won’t take a pay cut. Unlike other fading stars, he hasn’t even hinted it’s in the cards. The time to take a pay cut in favor of winning when he signed this last albatross of a contract.

        The best thing he could do is agree to be amnestied for the next season with a wink-wink deal to resign with the Lakers after this year. Doubt he’s even considered that – he thinks his old butt will be back at full strength on opening night.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        @ money- Aaaaahahahahahaha!! LMAO! Right, right!

        @ sp- interesting p.o.v. We shall see.

        @ htj- Not saying it would happen, but I can see Kobe wanting a 6th ring sooo bad, especially if Duncan and the Spurs win it all this year, that he would play for anywhere from vets min.-5 mill if it meant the Lakers would secure top talent and/or fill out the bench nicely for a true shot at an instant championship run. So, we shall see. Remember you heard it here 1st.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      as a selfish fan, i want Kobe around as long as possible too, my friend.

      hey, not that i’m crying a river or anything, but where is PH53? i thought your bet allowed him to chat during the finals?

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        The LAKERS are out the playoffs. He doesn’t have anything else to say without them, I guess. Either that or he got locked up for violating probation stalking lakerluver. Haaa

  7. lakerade - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    I hope you’re working on that post game, Dwight.

    • jamieaadams - Jun 9, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      So does James Harden.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        LOL! Now that’s funny

  8. pistolpete0903 - Jun 9, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    Guess, he wants to catch Malone in the all time points leader list!!!!

    • badintent - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      jabbar. karl is second.

      • pistolpete0903 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:31 AM

        Catching up Kareem is not realistic.
        He could end up 2nd

      • badintent - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        This is Kobe we talking about, the man ‘s ego has no boundaries. In this solar system anyway.The way the Lakers are now he could shoot 25 times a game for the next 5 years easy.

  9. money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    some people may feel kobe will do something basketball related when he retires. i think he may too, but maybe later on. i feel like once he hangs it up, he’ll try to focus some time early on to his charity, and running it better and being extra involved in the processes. it’ll be a big deal. he and his wife will share a lot of time together. something his wife didn’t get as much during kobe’s illustrious career. just my guess.

    • casualcommenter - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Kobe said in a tweet a few months ago that after he retires from basketball, he wants to spend a few years building up the Kobe brand.

      Also, I think he’d be tempted to play basketball for a couple of years in Italy. The Italian basketball league wanted Kobe in the event of a prolonged NBA lockout in 2010-2011, and the advantages are that he could keep playing basketball, but with a far less rigorous schedule than the NBA, plus he would be a huge star in the Italian league (which would help expand the Kobe brand in Europe).

      • money2long - Jun 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        yes, when he is done playing pro ball , im saying…the italian league is still pro ball.

  10. anhdazman - Jun 9, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Time to rebuild, but wait, where are all your draft picks?!

    • dafmediaproductions - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      The Lakers rebuild through free agency and trades.. Magic & Jerry West are the only notable great players that they drafted.

      Kobe/trade (draft)
      Shaq/free agent
      Wilt/trade
      Kareem/trade
      Worthy/trade
      Gasol/trade
      Howard/trade

      Why would change the way they do business now? Last week Dr. J. said it best…. “The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, who rarely get the short end of trades.”

      • Anoesis - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:43 AM

        Vern Mikkelsen
        Clyde Lovellette
        Elgin Baylor
        Gail Goodrich

        All Hall-of-Famers, all drafted by the Lakers. Worthy was in fact drafted by the Lakers. In 1979 the Lakers traded Don Ford and first round draft pick Chad Kinch to Cleveland in exchange for Butch Lee and a first round draft pick in the 1982 draft, which became James Worthy.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      yeah…uh, are you even paying attention, anhdazman? tell’em, dafmediaproductions!

  11. bucs24 - Jun 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    If d12 is smart he will go team up with the rockets Kobe is done, Pau sucks, Nash is old, Howard is already gone, lakers are going to be a lottery team soon Kobe has shown people do want to play with him NOT

  12. jadaruler - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Kobe is telling us don’t forget about me in your MJ vs. LBJ debates.

  13. bengzki - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    No wonder Kobe is a great player, I really doubt the Lakers would have the guts to let go of him, but let’s face the reality, he is not a good market when it comes to attracting players. Maybe the Lakers itself is enticing, all the fame and history itself, but if your a wise and a type of player who can bring an impact anywhere you go, Lakers is just not an option. Salary cap will always be an issue here, and add to the fact that you must accept that Kobe will always be the first and everything will just follow. I’m saying that because Kobe built enough reputation to the Lakers with all his accomplishments and you cannot just take that away especially if you’re just new to the organization. In the end, if Kobe and the Lakers itself wants another championship, someone just have to give. “Maybe” it can happen, but not until that large contract of Kobe is done, and they can start all over again.

  14. emosnar - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Lakers need to save face and do what’s right. Re-sign Kobe for whatever amount is fair and respectable for the player his current is and for the legacy and winning tradition he has provided the Lakers over his tenure. We do it to corporate execs who’ve done less all the time.

    Fire D’Antoni and hire Phil Jackson. Give him the front office job he wants. Turn Kobe into a future player/coach. Re-sign Howard. If he doesn’t want to come back then . . OK. There will be a center that comes along that will be just fine for the Lakers. I trust Mitch has an ace up his sleeve regarding the Howard situation. Get rid of some old, and out of date talent. Blake, Artest, Jamison gotta go. Nurture Clark, Goudluck, and Jordan Hill. Those three will be solid bench or starters. I actually think Jordan Hill can be a good solid center if Lakers don’t keep Howard. Sign and trade Howard or don’t. Lakers will be in greater overall shape if they re-sign Bryant and keep him around (and Phil) long term. Super long term. Kobe/Phil back office = Win, wins and more wins.

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