Lakers chief rules out Bryant exit

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Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss has played down speculation Kobe Bryant will become a free agent, reports the Bleacher Report.

The Orange County Register had claimed the Lakers were planning on letting Bryant leave on a free before re-signing him on a lower wage.

However Buss, speaking to ESPN, has since refuted claims that the LA Lakers star was going to become a free agent.

"I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent," Buss told ESPN Los Angeles.

"That's not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He's a Laker legend and always will be. I don't think we're done winning championships with him yet.

"[Lakers general manager] Mitch Kupchak and [Bryant's agent] Rob Pelinka have been talking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don't know when it'll get done, but I have faith in Rob and Mitch to work things out."

Bryant, 35, who has been at the LA Lakers for 17 years is likely to want to end his career at the side that has helped him win five NBA championships.

The 2012 London Olympics gold medallist is unlikely to begin contract negotiations in the near future, as he is trying to return from an Achilles injury in time for the new NBA season which kicks off on October 30.

Kobe Bryant
NBA Draft

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