Kobe Bryant looks like he’s going to be a Los Angeles Laker for life, or at least for another few years. The NBA superstar inked a deal on Friday (April 2) to extend his contract with the team for three more years.
According to ESPN, the contract extension will put Bryant in L.A. until the 2013-2014 season when he turns 35. The contact is worth a reported $83.5 million and includes a no-trade clause.
The deal begins after next season. Under his current contract, Bryant is due to earn $24.8 million next season.
“It’s very rare to have a player play his entire career in one city, so I’m very excited,” Bryant said.
Bryant could earn $27.4 million in 2011-12, $30.2 million the following season and more than $32 million in his final year, when he would be 35.
Despite rumors that Kobe would opt out of contact during the off season to test the waters as a free agent, he tells ESPN that he knew all along he’d stay in L.A.
Bryant is currently playing in his 14th season in the NBA, all of which has been in a Lakers uniform. Kobe’s new contract coincides with long-term deals signed by teammates Pau Gasol and Ron Artest. Other key players such as Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum have contracts that run through the 2012-2013 season, so the Lakers’ core players will be intact. At least for the next three years.
“Kobe has been a cornerstone of the Lakers for well over a decade, helping to lead us to four NBA championships and in the process developing into one of the greatest players in basketball history,” said Lakers general manger Mitch Kupchak.