Kobe Bryant intends to play at least two more years. He does not believe he should take a pay cut to do so, and he is recovering from a torn Achilles.
Those three factors could conflict, as far as the Lakers are concerned. With Bryant’s contract set to run out at the end of the season, the team reportedly is taking a “wait and see” approach before entering contract talks with its 35-year-old superstar.
“He has known only one team in his 17-year career and often says he’ll be a Laker for life, but will that be the case?” Mike Bresnahan writes in The Los Angeles Times. “The Lakers haven’t opened contract negotiations with Bryant, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, taking a wait-and-see approach as he recovers from his injury.”
Bryant is signed for more than $30.4 million this season, his 17th in a Lakers uniform. At last check he was bearing 75 percent of his body weight while running, but insisted this summer that he would not accept a pay cut beyond this year.
The Lakers are believed to be interested in cutting salaries for next summer, when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and others could all be free agents.