It is widely assumed that Kobe Bryant’s two-year extension that begins this season will be his last two years in the NBA. Once that contract expires after the 2015-16 season, Bryant will be 37 and have played 20 seasons in the league.
However, a former teammate of Bryant’s believes that may not be the case. According to the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina, former Laker Rick Fox told Larry King that he could see Bryant going somewhere else if he feels he can win another championship:
I would not put it past him […] If there is not a real opportunity for [Bryant] to win a championship there, the thought of him leaving may shock Lakers fans, but I wouldn’t put it past him going in search of one or two more championships. Personally, I think it’s going to get done in New York. I really do. I just believe in Phil. I’ve been around him. I know Kobe has had his greatest success with Phil in a leadership capacity. So the reuniting of the two is not an unrealistic thought.
Fox is correct in that the thought of Bryant leaving would absolutely shock and scare Lakers fans. Bryant in any other jersey than the purple and gold just doesn’t feel right.
Fox does have a point, however, in that Bryant doesn’t seem to be someone who will just walk away from the game quietly. If he feels he can still contribute at a high level and thinks he can win another ring, Bryant very well may go somewhere else.
With his teammate and close friend Derek Fisher now the head coach and mentor Phil Jackson in charge as President of the Knicks, a reunion very well could happen in the future. But that is a future Lakers fans would prefer not to think about.
Kobe Bryant On Jimmy Kimmel