Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant is heading into what will likely be his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant has one year left on his contract with the team and all indications point to the future Hall of Famer retiring after the 2015-16 NBA season.
Although it seems highly likely Bryant will retire after next season, head coach Byron Scott isn’t convinced just yet. Coach Scott recently made an appearance on The Jim Rome Show and said the following about his superstar guard’s future:
“I won’t believe that until I hear that from him face-to-face once next season is over,” Scott said. “I know he has a year or two left in the tank, and I know if he stays healthy we can be a very good basketball team. But we’re going to take it one day at a time, I know that.”
Health will be the major issue for Kobe moving forward. The veteran guard will turn 37 this August and is coming off three consecutive season-ending injuries. There’s no telling whether his body will be able to hold up for another 82-game season let alone another year after 2015-16 at 38.
The Lakers intend on drastically upgrading the roster this summer with the addition of a top-tier rookie prospect and potentially a big-name free agent. Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor may be bound for Los Angeles along with potentially signing Kevin Love in free agency.
If everything goes according to plan, the Lakers may have a competitive team next season and the year after. This may convince Kobe to stick around a little while longer, but as of right now, it certainly appears he’ll be retire after next season.