Kobe Bryant’s achilles injury was a devastating blow to the Lakers hopes for making a surprise run in the NBA Playoffs. However, it also has some questioning the superstar’s long-term future with the only team he has ever suited up for.
To be frank, Bryant, although still one of the game’s best players, will be 35 by the start of next season and his ability to participate in the early part of the 2013-2014 season is very much in doubt. That being the case, it is a foregone conclusion that Bryant’s production will not be in line with the $30 million he is due next season.
In turn, many are arguing that the Lakers should amnesty Bryant and begin building for the future. This is sure to be water cooler fodder for the next several months.
However, there are plenty of points to counter the amnesty argument, most notably Bryant’s determination and will to win that will likely result in him making a recovery faster than most.
The dominant guard is also hot on the heels of Michael Jordan’s scoring totals and could conceivably pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for first place on the all-time list. Additionally, he is driven to win another championship, making him a valuable asset for Los Angeles and a dangerous threat in another uniform.
All of this undercuts the argument that Bryant might be willing to be amnestied, sit out next season, and return cheaply in 2014-2015. While the debate on what the Lakers should do will likely continue throughout the summer, it is highly unlikely that the Black Mamba will be on the market any time soon.