Kobe Bryant has been sidelined with an Achilles injury since last April. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant has signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The two-year deal is expected to pay Bryant between $40-50 million dollars, keeping his position as the highest paid player in the league. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard are reporting the deal is for $48.5 million.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said the move is a win for all sides:
"This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” said Kupchak. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”
Lakers' executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss said at the beginning of the season that the team was dedicated to keeping Kobe in L.A.
"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."
The NBA superstar would have become a free agent at the end of this season had an agreement not been reached.