NBA: Lakers GM says Kobe Bryant done after next season

Kobe Bryant (above) will make next season his last with the Los Angeles Lakers after 20 years that have produced five NBA titles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. -- PHOTO: AFP
Kobe Bryant (above) will make next season his last with the Los Angeles Lakers after 20 years that have produced five NBA titles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Kobe Bryant will make next season his last with the Los Angeles Lakers after 20 years that have produced five NBA titles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.

"He has indicated to me this is it," Kupchak told SiriusXM NBA Radio.

"He's on the last year of a deal. There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be."

The 36-year-old guard has played for the Lakers for his entire NBA career, but has been nagged by injuries in recent seasons and unable to display the form that made him a 17-time All-Star, two-time NBA scoring champion and two-time Olympic champion.

Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon in April of 2013 to end his season, but signed a two-year contract extension worth US$48.5 million that kept him the NBA's top-paid player and set him up to become the first player to compete for the same club for 20 seasons.

Only six games after returning from his tendon injury, Bryant suffered a fractured left knee and missed the remainder of the 2013-14 season.

Bryant returned for this season and became the third-highest all-time NBA scorer last December, passing Michael Jordan's 32,292 points.

Nagged by sore knees, feet, tendons and back, Bryant continued until suffering a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder last January, forcing him to undergo season-ending surgery that was expected to sideline him for nine months.

"We expect a full recovery but yeah, he's much closer to the end than the beginning," Kupchak said.

Kupchak left open the idea that Bryant could return, saying "a year from now, if there's something different to discuss, then it will be discussed".

The uncertainty over his status leaves in doubt the question of a "farewell tour" by Bryant next season.

"It's kind of up to the player if they want to do something like that," Kupchak said. "And it also may take away some options a year from now and put a player in an awkward position.

"But he will be recognised appropriately with great gratitude when it's time."

The Lakers went 21-61 last season and will have the second selection in next month's NBA Draft.