Is Kobe Bryant Really Going To Retire After Next Season?
This is it. According to Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, his star player Kobe Bryant spoke with him recently and revealed that the 2015-16 NBA season is going to be his final year in the NBA. He said so during an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio on Thursday after he was asked about Kobe’s future.
“He has indicated to me that this is it,” Kupchak said, before speaking about Kobe’s current contract. “I think first and foremost, he’s on the last year of a deal. There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don’t think there will be.”
Is this really it, though? On the surface, it seems like “Yes” is the easy answer to that question. Kobe has been sidelined with injuries for most of the last two seasons. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like his body is going to be able to sustain another 82-game season. At best, he’s going to have to get lots of rest during the 2015-16 NBA season in order to make it until the end of the year. And at worst, he’s going to end up sustaining another injury during the season that’s going to limit his play.
However, things are finally looking up for the Lakers right now after a few below average seasons. They’ll have Julius Randle back in the lineup next year after he missed all of this season with a leg injury. They’ll likely have either Karl Anthony-Towns or Jahlil Okafor on the team since they have the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. And they’re probably going to make one or two other offseason moves this summer to improve. So if the Lakers go out and, say, make the playoffs next season but don’t make it all the way to the NBA Finals, will Kobe really be able to shut it down next year?
Kupchak says yes. But we wouldn’t pencil that prediction in just yet. There’s still a lot that could happen between now and the end of next season. And even though he’s not getting any younger, Kobe might have more than one year left in him.