- (PHOTO) REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Kobe Bryant, the 35-year-old Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, recently signed a two year extension with the team Monday.
Bryant is currently in the final year of his contract and signed the extension for an unconfirmed amount that ESPN sources claim make him remain the highest-paid player in the NBA. Although Bryant has yet to return to the court after having his Achilles tendon surgically repaired in April, the Lakers' management reportedly wanted to sign his extension to prove their loyalty to the player.
"This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization," general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a press release. "We've said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens."
The Lakers GM lauded Kobe's career with the Lakers while announcing his decision to stay on with the team for another two years.
"To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment," the press release reads. "Most importantly, however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come."
Bryant seemed to echo the sentiments by taking to his Twitter account to write, "#Laker4Life."
While the guard nicknamed "Black Mamba" has returned to the court to practice with his team, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni does not want people to get ahead of themselves expecting him to return to full form just yet.
"There's a lot of steps to be taken, so I just think we need to be cautious," he told the Los Angeles Times previously. "There will be some struggles early. There's no way he comes back with everything. But at the same time, he is 10 percent better than most people."