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Kobe may be done for the year (or most of it), but that doesn’t mean that he’s done for good. There are MANY reasons as to why I think he will be back; Kobe has a drive that separates him from other NBA’ers, which is why so many players hate playing with him. He pushes other players to play up to his standards, and generally that pushes them away, but it’s that same drive, and desire to do better, which is why I think Kobe will return for another campaign with the Lakers in the ’15-’16 year.
The Lakers, with or without Kobe this year, were going to have a very bad record. I don’t know if that was exactly the plan in the front office, but it seems to be the plan now, total rebuild mode. With the bad record, comes a high draft pick, and for the first time in many years, the draft is pretty full of good players. The Lakers could get significantly better from a top ten pickup to pair with Kobe, maybe use a later round pick or two for depth, and add a few free agents to fill out the starting lineup and bench, and Kobe could have a playoff team to lead. The Lakers should have a ton of cap space at years end to bring in at lease 1 really good free agent, and a couple others to add depth to the rotation.
Kobe is #3 in NBA history in points, he just surpassed MJ this year, and I don’t think he will stop without being #1. Back to Kobe’s competitive drive again for this one; It’s either a 6th career ring, or #1 in points, whatever comes first, that will be the end to Kobe’s career, he won’t let an injury end it. It’s just how Kobe operates; he does things his way, for reasons we don’t understand. He’s the Frank Sinatra of the NBA in his mind. He will always have something to prove to fans and the history books, I guess constantly being compared to players your whole career, past or present, will do that to someone. He’s like the whiny middle child, who needs approval and coddling constantly for achievements. Maybe that’s why Phil Jackson left/retired? Another reason Kobe won’t hit the golf links and call it a career now, I really feel that Kobe will get the farewell treatment that Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter got in baseball. A little gift from each team that decides to have a little PR opportunity pregame with the NBA great, probably will end up being an NBA mandate to all teams. This type of sendoff could have some sponsorship dollars to be had for Kobe, and the NBA, so I’d think it’d be something they would want to explore, and Kobe has rarely said no to more money, case in point, his current contract with the Lakers.
I’d be willing to bet anyone, that Kobe is back for the Lakers next year. I’m sure he will be under a minutes limit/restriction of some kind, but he’ll be back. I also would be willing to guess that his surrounding cast will be significantly better than this year’s team thus far. I’m not going to speculate which free agent, or who the Lakers will draft, but I KNOW the Lakers GM and front office will definitely give their aging star a better team to work with in the ’15-‘16 year. The window is closing for Kobe to get his 6th with the Lakeshow, the Lakers will do anything to make that a possibility for Kobe, as he probably would’ve already retired and held a press conference if he thought he would play with the same caliber of team next year, as he had this year. I guess we will have to wait and see what the rehab process has in store for the Black Mamba.