Despite another injury, Kobe Bryant will definitely be back next season, sources say.
People close to Kobe told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that Kobe “is definitively coming back to play next season.”
“Doesn’t want to go out like this,” he added.
Kobe, as expected, will be active in free-agent recruiting for the Lakers, one of the sources added.
The Lakers are expected to be big players on the market, with plenty of cap space. Playing with Kobe will be one of the primary parts of the pitches, along with lots of playing time with an established franchise that will be promoted as on its way back to greatness.
Besides Kobe ($25 million), the Lakers have few players under contract for next season. Julius Randle, the rookie who was injured for the season late last year, is one of them, as is Nick Young.
Kobe hasn’t commented publicly on his return, but did hint that he’s contemplated retirement at times this season. The Lakers have one of the worst records in the league.
The team announced on Monday that Kobe was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, who confirmed that Bryant suffered a torn rotator cuff.
Bryant agreed to the advisement of having surgery to repair the shoulder. Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.
An exact timeline for recovery will be issued following the surgery.