There was some discussion yesterday that the Los Angeles Lakers could let star Kobe Bryant test the free agent market, but now there are reports that the team is already working on contract negotiations with their great, who is in the final year of his contract.
Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said Friday that the team has started talks with Bryant’s representative on a contract extension for the five-time NBA champion and fully expects a new deal to be completed before the star guard can become a free agent on July 1, 2014.
“I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday night. “That’s not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He’s a Laker legend and always will be. I don’t think we’re done winning championships with him yet.
“[Lakers general manager] Mitch Kupchak and [Bryant's agent] Rob Pelinka have been talking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don’t know when it’ll get done, but I have faith in Rob and Mitch to work things out.”
You would have to be crazy to believe that Bryant will finish his career anywhere but Los Angeles, so there is really no surprise that they are already working towards a contract extension.
Los Angeles has plenty of cap room to use towards signing Bryant, so he could really get anything that he asks for.