(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Lakers are in talks with five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant’s representative on a contract extension.
Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss confirmed the news to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday.
“I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That’s not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He’s a Laker legend and always will be. I don’t think we’re done winning championships with him yet.
Bryant said on Thursday that he has scaled back rehab on his Achillies injury that he suffered in April, but plans on being on the court sometime this season.
“[Lakers general manager] Mitch Kupchak and [Bryant’s agent] Rob Pelinka have been talking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don’t know when it’ll get done, but I have faith in Rob and Mitch to work things out,” Buss continued.
The 15-time All-Star is in the final year of his current contract that will pay him $30.5 million, the highest in the NBA.
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Jill Martin, CNN