Becomes First Player in NBA history to Play 20+ Seasons with One Team; Can add the title “Most Loyal Player” to his achievements.
“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Monday in a statement. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens.”
The Lakers did not release terms of the new agreement but, according to a source familiar with the situation, Bryant will make between $40 million and $50 million for the two years.
Bryant was eligible for an extension starting at $32 million. Currently recovering from an Achilles injury, Bryant will remain the NBA‘s highest paid player despite accepting a discounted deal.
With Bryant under contract, the Lakers project to have between $19 million and $20 million in spending power under the NBA’s salary cap next summer.
“To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment,” Kupchak said. “Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”
The Lakers have started the season 7-7, matching last year’s campaign through 14 games. Bryant has yet to take the court, although he has resumed practicing with the team and will accompany the Lakers on their three-game road trip.