Kobe says he’s retiring unless something changes this season

Kobe Bryant has not ruled out playing another season beyond the current one, but it would take a significant change for him not to retire this summer.

Whatever that means.

On Thursday, Kobe said on Mike Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM Radio show that he is planning to retire after the season unless “something changes.”

Bryant said something similar recently, noting that he feels at the moment that this will be his last year but stopping short of ruling out a 21st NBA season. His two-year, $49 million contract expires at the end of the season, and he would be putting the Lakers in an awkward position if he wants to continue to play and be paid anything close to that amount.

Basically, it seems like the only thing that would motivate Bryant to return next season is a trip to the Fountain of Youth and/or a complete turnaround by the 2-9 Lakers. Those things both seem equally unlikely to happen, and some recent comments Kobe made indicated he is nearing the end of the road. For now, he should focus on trying to make it through one more season with his health intact.

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