As Kobe Bryant plays through the sunset of his career, and the Los Angels Lakers are setting up for another day, it’s becoming apparent that the franchise’s all-time great is of limited use to the team’s long-term plans. Such a juxtaposition of events has some speculating that Bryant may find himself wearing different colors than Purple and Gold next season.
Bryant does not agree, according to a report from Baxter Homes of ESPN.
“I’ve said it so many times. I’m here, I’m a Laker for life,” Bryant said Friday night after his team’s 104-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. “I’m not playing anywhere else, no matter what. It’s just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold, and that’s just how it’s going to be.”
The issue isn’t just one of Bryant’s choosing either. He is nothing like the player who once dominated the league and poured in 81 points in a game. He’s having the worst season of his career, averaging 16.2 points on a pitiful effective field goal percentage of just 37.2
And, while that’s just five games, it’s a continuation of what has happened since Bryant tore his Achilles tendon late in the 2012-13 season. Over the last three years, Bryant has played just 46 games, scoring 20.6 points on a 41.0 effective field percentage. He has accrued -.2 Win Shares in that span, according to Basketball-Refernece.com.
So, while it may be news that Bryant has no desire to play anywhere else (and it would be a shock if he did), there’s very little chance anyone seeks him out anyway.