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At 36 years old, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is reaching the end of his career. However, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak believes that it will be coming even sooner than some of us may think.
According to Kupchak, Bryant, whose current contract with the team is set to expire after the 2015-2016 season, will retire after the deal is up. Kupchak shared his thoughts on the matter during a conversation with TNT's David Aldrige, who was speaking with Kupchak for a story published on NBA.com:
"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."
Kupchak's word holds weight here given his long-standing relationship with Bryant. However, there has been speculation concerning the end of Bryant's contract that counters Kupchak's claim. If Kobe is able to play at a high level, and can still command a respectable contract, it's easy to imagine the Los Angeles lifer playing elsewhere, whether to pursue another ring or to simply pad his wallet. Though, it is worth noting that Bryant expressed his desire to retire as a Laker when asked about the subject in 2013. Will that sentiment hold up when he sees the end finally approaching? We can only wait and see.
In any case, it's unlikely that the Lakers will look to re-up on Bryant's contract in 2016. That is, unless they're interested in handing Bryant another $48.5 million.
[via Black Sports Online]