Kobe Bryant is currently out injured for the rest of the season for the Lakers, but just because the Black Mamba is on the sidelines doesn't mean that he has become any less of a talking point for Lakers fans.
Many want Kobe to retire and hang it all up so the Lakers can use the $25 million he is due next season, but others want to see one last return of the true king of basketball.
Bryant is never one to shy away from the difficulties facing the Lakers, and in an interview with the LA Daily News published on Monday, he aired his thoughts on a somewhat touchy subject.
You see, one of the reasons why Magic Johnson urged Kobe Bryant to retire last month was because he felt that if the Lakers didn't supply Kobe with some quality talent around him for his potential final season next year, Magic says Kobe should just retire now and not hurt his legacy.
But how much can you really hurt the legacy of a five-time NBA champion in just one season?
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has refrained from talking about the chances of LA dominating the free agency market this summer and taking Kobe back to the promised land one last time, and somewhat surprisingly, this is not something that fazes Kobe. The 36-year-old says he is more than aware that the Lakers still need to build for their future without him while at the same time trying to utilize what they still have left of him.
“It’s a balance of both. You always want to set the franchise up for the long term. Mitch and I are on the same page," Bryant told LA Daily News.
"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.”
At the moment, Kobe is out of action thanks to a torn rotator cuff, but as he's mentioned quite a few times since his injury, he is more than willing to return and feels that he can get back to his best when he does.
“I’ll be ready to go,” Bryant said in an interview with Los Angeles Newspaper Group. “I’ll do my regiment and be ready to go.”