You don’t have to be an NBA expert to figure out that Kobe Bryant is going to finish his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. They’re the only team he’s ever played for, and in 2013 they just so happened to sign him to a massive two-year extension worth $48.5 million that will keep him in purple and gold through the 2015-16 season.
In the meantime he’s got one heck of a journey ahead, coming back from two straight seasons ended by injury. He’s an old man now in NBA years, and the supporting cast around him in L.A. isn’t exactly spectacular. Most have the storied franchise as a fringe playoff team in 2014-15.
Many, including the Black Mamba, truly expect 2015-16 to be the grand finale. But when it comes to Kobe, there are certainly no guarantees. He’s ultra-competitive, and there’s always the possibility of him playing elsewhere if things were to end poorly with the Lakers. Unlikely to happen, but possible.
But just in case things really take a turn before the end of 2015-16, one anonymous GM has reminded everyone that Kobe has “zero” value on the trade market, and that he’s basically untouchable. Here’s the excerpt from Twilight the Saga: The Final Fascinating Days of a Legend via SI:
“His confidence is as admirable as it is predictable. And yet on paper the Lakers look an awful lot like a lottery team that is overly reliant on one aging star. There is not much hope on the horizon, either. Seven months after he ruptured his left Achilles tendon—and three weeks before he fractured his left kneecap—Bryant signed a $48.5 million, two-year deal. The contract, widely derided as the worst in the game, makes Bryant nearly impossible to move, even were the Lakers to try. Asked about Kobe’s value on the market, one GM answers definitively: “Zero. Look at that number. Who takes him?””
No one takes him. The Lakers’ move to lock him up with that massive contract was definitely overkill, even before the knee injury last season, but that’s the point.
These final two seasons should be about Kobe going out on a high note. Maybe he won’t get back to the NBA Finals, or to an All-Star level of play, but if the Lakers can at least fight into the playoffs, he’ll go out in true ultra-competitor fashion.