At 37, Kobe Bryant is trying to battle through what could be his final NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant has left the door open for a return next season, but all indications seem to be pointing in the direction of retirement after the 2015-16 campaign.
The real question moving forward is not whether he’ll retire next summer, but if he’ll be able to finish this season healthy. Bryant has already missed three out of 11 games this season and is bound to miss plenty more for rest or injury that may occur along the way.
Apparently, an anonymous NBA executive doesn’t think Bryant will make it to February without needing to shut it down for the year, via Sam Amico of SamAmicoBasketball.com:
I don’t think he’ll make it to February,” said one GM.
The Lakers will play 39 games between now and the end of January. At this pace, there’s no telling how many games Bryant will play moving forward or if he’ll be able to tough it out for the rest of the season.
Head coach Byron Scott has said he’ll do his best to preserve Bryant over the course of the season for the 20-year veteran to play as much as possible.
So far, Bryant has dealt with a lower leg contusion and a sore back since returning to the basketball floor during the preseason. With ample rest, Kobe may be able to make it through the remainder of the year, but it remains to be seen how his body will hold up.