Kobe Bryant says he not only intends to recover from an Achilles tear that abruptly ended his 2013 season, but wants “two more cracks” at winning his seventh NBA title.
The guard on Friday afternoon decided to name his recovery process “The Last Chapter,” leading many Lakers fans to fear that he was considering retirement after the next season. But a source close to Kobe said that isn’t the case at all, and that the NBA All-Pro guard is looking to be “back next season with a vengeance.”
As he rehabs from the Achilles tear, Kobe Bryant has some other business to attend to. He would be a free agent after next season, but both he and the Los Angeles Lakers seem determined to sign a contract extension so he can retire with the team where he’s spent his entire career.
Though the Lakers may not be able to afford the $30 million a year salary he makes now, a source said the team wants to respect the contributions he’s made to the franchise.
As for the near future, Kobe said he’s determined to be back on the floor for the Lakers by the season opener.
“I hope so,” Bryant said in a sit-down interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That’s the challenge. With the tendon, there’s really only but so much you can do. There’s a certain amount of time that they deem necessary for the tendon to heal where you don’t overstretch it and now you never get that spring back.
“So, you just have to be patient, let the tendon heal, and then when that moment comes when they say, ‘OK, we can take off the regulator so to speak and now it’s on you to train as hard as you can to get back to where you want to be,’ that’s going to be a good day.”
Kobe Bryant has always said he would retire when he can no longer play on an elite level, but the 34-year-old certainly didn’t show signs of slowing during the 2012 season. He averaged 27.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game, topping his career averages in every category.