Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, one of the top priorities was for Kobe Bryant to play his final game for the Los Angeles Lakers on April 13 against the Utah Jazz. In his 20th and final season, Bryant is averaging 28.6 minutes and has missed 16 games to preserve his body.
While Bryant has had to miss a majority of his games at Staples Center, he has different plans with nine games remaining in his future Hall of Fame career.
According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, the five-time champion intends on playing the remainder of the season unless something drastic happens:
Will Kobe play all nine games left in his career? "Yes, unless something drastic happens, God forbid."
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) March 28, 2016
In the final nine games, five of them will be in front of the Staples Center crowd when including the road game against the Los Angeles Clippers. While Bryant’s shoulder injury remains a major concern, he will try his best to finish his career on a high note.
For the last two seasons, the Lakers have done well in preparing for the post-Kobe era. By establishing the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, the franchise will be armed with a top-three pick in this year’s draft and a projected $65 million in cap space to pursue free agents.