Kobe Bryant has no problem with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak's recent comments about how the team can't jeopardize its long-term future just to appease Bryant. Speaking to the Los Angeles Daily News on Sunday, Bryant said he agrees with Kupchak and supports this thinking.
"It's a balance of both," Bryant said. "You always want to set the franchise up for the long term. Mitch and I are on the same page. What he said in the interview is not something that we haven't talked about before. It's nothing different. You don't want to compromise the future of the franchise for one season. You try to balance that."
Next season will mark the final year of Bryant's current contract with the Lakers. Bryant will be 37 then and many assume that he'll retire after the year. Naturally, he'd like to compete for a title during his final season in the league.
The Lakers are light years away from reaching that point, though. How they go about building next year's roster could become a point of contention between the team's management and star, though Bryant's comments are encouraging.
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Bryant was also asked if he thinks he'll be on the court to start the year.
"I'll be ready to go," he said. "I'll do my regiment and be ready to go."
Later Bryant added: "I'm good. I've danced this dance before. I'm being patient and doing what I can everyday. I don't have much pain in it. The range of motion is very good. But they want me to play it safe and make sure it's in place with where it should be."
Bryant was averaging 22.3 points per game and shooting a career-low 37.3 percent shooting in 35 games this season before going down with a shoulder injury in January.