Price per head services found out that on Friday, LA executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said that the team held discussions with Kobe Bryant’s representative on a contract extension for the player, and fully expects a new deal to be done before the five-time NBA champion can become a free agent on July 1.
“I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “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.”
Pay per head services know that Bryant, 35-years-old, is in the last year of a current contract worth $30.5 million this season – the highest salary in the league.
The player is recovering from surgery on his left Achilles tendon and hasn’t yet set a return date.
Price per head services saw that in July, Bryant said that he wants to retire as a Laker, and does not believe that there will be a problem extending his contract for as long as he can play at top level.
The question now is for how much he will play for in the future, with the team set to look for two top free agents for next season.
“As a businessman, the goal is always to not take a pay cut,” Bryant said in July. “But … ”
On Thursday, the Orange County Register reported that Buss talked to the player and thought that they had an understanding that the team would let him turn into a free agent so they could first spend on other free agents in order to upgrade its roster, and price per head services would really like to see who will join the team.
For next season, the Lakers now only have three players (Robert Sacre, Steve Nash, and Nick Young) under contract.
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The player confirmed to the Register that he talked to Buss about the situation, saying, “We’ve probably talked. But I’m putting off any thought of that.”