Bryant signs extension with Lakers
Bryant has had the contract sitting on the table throughout the season and finally reached agreement in the last 24 hours, sources say. He could have opted out of his current deal this summer and become part of the NBA’s historic free-agent class, but will now likely finish his career with the Lakers.
The extension keeps Bryant under contract through the 2013-14 season. Bryant announced his intentions to stay with the Lakers last summer and reaffirmed that during the season, especially after the team also signed forward Pau Gasol to an extension.
“I’m set up to have a good run here,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports in January. “I’ve been very fortunate. I went through seven years of hell. Management decided that it was time to spend the money to bring in the players here.”
The only question left unanswered is whether coach Phil Jackson returns next season. He told reporters last week he won’t make a final decision until after the season.
“I think it’s the best way to approach it right now,” Jackson said. “The way this team is, the way it’s built, the way it’s going throughout the season, the direction the NBA is going right now. A lot of these things fit together.”
Bryant, 31, is a four-time NBA champion and the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player.