Lakers general manger Mitch Kupchak said that the team wouldn't sacrifice the future to make a final playoff push for Kobe Bryant next season.
Kupchak told the Orange County Register, "To jeopardize the next five or seven years, bring in old veterans that make a lot of money, just to win one more year, because that's Kobe's last year or could be his last year, I'm not sure that fits into doing it the right way."
Bryant is out for the rest of this season after rotator-cuff surgery. It's the third straight season that has ended early due to an injury. He played 35 games this season and just six last year, meaning he's appeared in just one out of every four Lakers' games over the past two years.
Next season will be Bryant's twentieth with the Lakers. He's scheduled to make $25 million in the second year of a two-year, $48.5 million extension.
“This team primarily has been Kobe's team now for almost 18 or 20 years,” Kupchak said, “and we're much closer to the end of those 18, 20 years than we are to the middle or the beginning. So at some point we have to start a new run."