Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mitch Kupchak: Indications are Kobe Bryant is done after 2016


Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com that he believes Kobe Bryant will retire after his current contract expires in 2016.

 "All indications are, to me, from him, that this (two-year contract) is going to be it," Kupchak said. "If somebody's thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that. Don't wait. Do it this year."

via Even while the going is tough, Kobe is still persistent in L.A. | NBA.com.
Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com that he believes Kobe Bryant will retire...

Bryant is making $24 million per year for the next two years. He'll be 38 when this deal ends. And if you really want to peer into the crystal ball and look at the decision, it'll come down to what, if any, magic Kupchak can pull off in the next eighteen months. There's a weird duplicity going on with the Lakers. On one hand, they admit that this is a long-term project, and that they aren't going to overcommit on a team that can't contend, and they want to rebuild with youth, yada, yada, yada.

But there's always this weird "But still, you never know..." as if this team is like that 2007 team that just needed a jump from Andrew Bynum, a desperate Grizzlies team, and the ZenMaster to jump into being a title contender. The team maintains its "Well, we're the Lakers, so all we need is that one guy."

LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol... you'd need two of the above or some combination to make them into a contender, and yet, weirder things have happened. A contending team would prompt Bryant to keep it going, provided his body holds up.

I'm more fascinated by the continued and vocal insistence by Bryant that he's OK with this whole thing. That this train wreck is what he signed up for, and he's enjoying "the process." Will he still be singing that tune in April? And more importantly, is he so insistent that he's fine with this whole thing because he's fine with it, or because he refuses to admit that he's lost?

All he cared about was winning, until this whole thing happened. And now he's reconfigured it. Even when he loses, he doesn't lose. He doesn't win, per say, but he refuses to concede defeat.