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NBA Rumors: Kobe Playing Past 2016?

Kobe could play beyond 2016… Brett Brown in trouble? Kevin Love committed to Cavaliers…

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Kobe playing beyond 2016?

Through it all, though, Bryant’s stature, his career – and yes, the resurgence of his talent – is still the greatest element these Lakers have to sell free agents. Should the right combination of talent come in the summer of 2015 – and the prospects of more await a year later – Bryant doesn’t rule out signing another deal beyond his contract expiration in ’16.

Via Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports

Prior to this feature, Bryant had consistently stated that once his current two-year contract expires he’s walking into the sunset and calling it a career. However, it’s not overly surprising that the door is starting to crack open based off of how much Bryant loves the game of basketball and enjoys competing.

Competing is probably going to be what it all comes down to for Bryant. If the team is much improved and in a position to contend, he’s going to have a very difficult time walking away. There are many who think that Bryant’s days of winning at a high level are over and he would like nothing more than to prove his doubters wrong once more and go out on a winning note.

It’s going to take some major work by the Lakers front office to pull off the kind of quick rebuild that it’s going to take to keep Bryant past 2016, but he voiced a lot of confidence in their ability to do so and assured that he’s never going to consider playing for another team. So, in 2016, it will be Lakers or retirement for Bryant, who is showing that he’s still one of the league’s best this season, albeit a bit inefficient.

Brett Brown in trouble?

Some in the NBA have warned Brown he will eventually be cast aside, according to a report.

Brown as followed Gregg Popovich’s path and has retained the San Antonio Spurs coach’s support. Popovich suggested to Brown in 2013 not to accept anything less than a four-year deal when the 76ers offered a three-year contract.

Via Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express News

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a Popovich disciple cast off before things get better. The same thing happened to P.J. Carlesimo with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was tapped to guide them through the tough years, and just as the team was going to make a jump no matter who coached them, Carlesimo was replaced by Scott Brooks.

That has to be the big concern of Brown, who has the impossible task of trying to build a winning culture despite having just a couple of certified NBA players at his disposal. The length of his contract is meaningless, just ask another Pop disciple in Mike Brown, who has been fired with years left on his contract multiple times.

The 76ers still look to be another two years away from their first major step forward. At that time, Hinkie’s loyalty to him will really be tested. Brown deserves the chance to coach a roster that has a legitimate chance to win every night. His record may be horrific, but it’s a product of the position Hinkie put him in, so he deserves about as much leeway as any coach in the league.

What Brown does have working in his favor is that there’s always going to be a seat for him on the Spurs’ bench, and everyone knows that he has the worst job in the league. He’ll get another chance to prove himself if Philadelphia decides to kick him to the curb once the going looks like it’s going to get good.

Kevin Love committed to Cavaliers

via Twitter

There’s been a few whispers this season that Love was interested in seeing what the free agent market had to offer, particularly closer to home with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, sources close to the situation have always maintained that anything regarding Love looking to leave Cleveland was farfetched and not something he was thinking about. Love is indeed committed to the Cavaliers, and why wouldn’t he be after what he went through during the first chapter of his career with the Timberwolves. He’s surrounded by the kind of help he desperately coveted in Minnesota and now has the chance to be in the playoffs every single year after never making it before. Teams hoping to get Love to give them any consideration are kidding themselves this summer. Barring some drastic, unforeseen turn of events, he’s not leaving Cleveland.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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