On Monday morning, the Los Angeles revealed that they had signed Kobe Bryant to a two-year contract extension. Thus, Bryant will end his career as a Laker 20 years after he started it as a Laker. Bryant confirmed the signing on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
True, Bryant was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but he was traded before he played a single minute for Charlotte.
“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a written statement. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”
The terms of Bryant’s deal were not immediately available, but reports are coming out that he will net between $40-$50 million over the two additional years. This would keep Bryant as the highest paid player in the NBA, but the Black Mamba did not take the maximum available.
The Lakers have effectively signed one of the big free agents they were expected to target over the upcoming summer. This contract guarantees to keep Bryant wearing purple and gold until the age of 37.
Bryant has yet to take the floor this season, but his return is imminent. Most expect him to return in early December, but the 35-year-old did not rule out a return to game action before the end of November. Bryant recently returned to full contact practice and will be traveling with the team on its upcoming 3-game road trip.
Without Bryant, the Lakers are up to 7-7 this season and are on a 3-game winning streak.