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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak revealed that Kobe Bryant has made it clear to him that the 2015-16 NBA season will be the last of his career. Bryant who has been dealing with serious injuries the past three seasons has been hinting at retiring in the summer of 2016 for a couple years now.
Kupchak also let it be known to free agents that if they don’t want to play with Kobe, then the Lakers don’t ever want them.
Bryant will earn an NBA high $25 million next season. Via LA Times:
“He has indicated to me that this is it,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak on Thursday on “Sirius XM NBA Radio” with Rick Fox and Jared Greenberg.
“There have been no discussions about anything going forward and I don’t think there will be,” he continued.
Kupchak did note that if there are any free agents who don’t want to play with Bryant, the Lakers don’t need them.
“If somebody doesn’t want to play with Kobe, whether it’s this year or he decides to come back another year …. If there is a player out there like that, that won’t come here for that reason, then we don’t want him,” said Kupchak.
The Lakers could have in the neighborhood of $22 million in cap room this summer.
“Every great player is demanding, focused, and if you don’t want to play for a guy like him that’s driven to do nothing but win championships and work hard, then you shouldn’t be here. You should be someplace else,” said Kupchak.