(LOS ANGELES) — Kobe Bryant was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the then Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and has since remained with the team for 16 seasons.
Bryant, 33, is under contract with Los Angeles for the next two seasons and is set to make $58.3 million. On Friday, Lakers executive vice president of player personnel, Jim Buss said don’t expect that to be the final two years with Bryant in purple and gold either.
“I think about a lot of things to improve this team, to figure out how to manage the finances of it,” said Buss on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles on Friday. “One thing I haven’t thought of is Kobe being somewhere else. I don’t know why that question has ever come up and I’d like to squish that one.”
During his 16 seasons in Los Angeles, Bryant has been an All-Star 14 times, led his team to five NBA championships, is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and was also the league MVP in 2008.
“I might disagree with you that Kobe only has three or four years left, but we’ll see,” Buss said. “As you see, we make trades and our whole focus isn’t to win a sixth (championship). I’m not sure I would stop there for Kobe; I would go to seven or eight if we can. … I think Kobe is going to be a Laker for life and I’m pretty sure he’s not going to hang them up after two years.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire