After landing the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, there is optimism moving forward for the Los Angeles Lakers and fans. With the opportunity to draft Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, the Lakers are also armed with two more draft picks and ample cap space in free agency.
Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, one of the biggest storylines is if Kobe Bryant will play beyond his two-year, $48.5 million contract. According to general manager Mitch Kupchak, the five-time champion has indicated to him this will be his final season in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
“He has indicated to me that this is it,” Kupchak said Thursday in a radio appearance with SiriusXM NBA Radio.
With Bryant heading into his 20th campaign, Lakers President Jeanie Buss has stated that this upcoming season will be a ‘celebration’ of his time in Los Angeles. After three consecutive season-ending injuries, the five-time champion has been asked about retirement, but has not officially announced his intentions to do so.
While basketball fans around the world would like to see Bryant in the NBA Playoffs for what will likely be his final season, Kupchak has said he will not mortgage the team’s future for one season.
With the NBA Draft taking place on June 25, the Lakers will take the next step in their post-Kobe era. In addition to Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers will have an opportunity to sign a player to a max contract and speed up the rebuilding process.
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