The Los Angeles Lakers haven't entered into negotiations on a new contract for Kobe Bryant, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
Bryant is entering the final season of his contract, which will pay him $30.45 million. The 35-year-old is currently rehabbing a torn Achilles, and it's unknown if he'll be ready to go in time for opening night.
Bryant has talked openly about wanting to stay with the Lakers for the remainder of his career, but his future with the team could depend on his contract demands. Bryant could seek the maximum 5-percent raise on his current contract, which would net him a whopping $32 million in the 2014-15 season. The Lakers star said earlier this offseason that he doesn't plan on taking a pay cut on his next deal, but that stance may have to change if he wants to stay in Los Angeles.
For all that Bryant has done for the franchise, it's unlikely the Lakers would be willing to fork over that kind of money considering his age, his injury and the free-agent possibilities in the summer of 2014. The 2014 class of free agents has the potential to be loaded, and the Lakers currently only have Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young on their books for 2014-15. Giving Bryant a contract similar to what he's making now would eat up about half the Lakers' cap space and limit any kind of spending spree they may want to go on.
Bryant's contract can be extended any time before July, otherwise, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.