NBA: Lakers may opt to rest Kobe to keep ageing star fresh for next season's campaign

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Kobe Bryant does not like the idea but would comply if the Lakers decide to shut their ageing superstar down in what is turning into a lost season for Los Angeles.

"It's a tough one for me," he said of the prospect of sitting out a considerable chunk of an NBA season.

"I want to play. but at the same time, I understand management's position.

"I will do what they ask me to do."

It is a subject that has come up as the Lakers' struggles have continued and the 36-year-old, sidelined for all but six games last season, has been inconsistent on the floor.

In December, he passed NBA icon Michael Jordan for third on the league's all-time scoring list.

But the strong performances have been overshadowed by poor scoring nights and uncharacteristic spates of turnovers.

Thursday night was one of the good ones for Bryant, who handed out a career-high 17 assists and scored 19 points with only three turnovers. But it went for naught as the Lakers lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Staples Center fans chanted "We want Kobe!" whenever he was on the bench but Lakers coach Byron Scott has vowed to limit his minutes in a bid to keep him fresh.

Scott said: "I know how much he means to us but I also know that in the long run, it's going to be the best thing for us."

And if the Lakers are out of play-off contention come March - which seems virtually certain for the 12-28 club - there has been talk that the team could choose to shut him down entirely in a bid to make sure he is healthy for a final NBA campaign next season.