- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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Kobe Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday that he fully intends to retire as a Laker someday and doesn't believe there will be any problem securing an extension for as long as he can play at an elite level.
There have yet to be any discussions between Bryant's camp and the Lakers about an extension, he said, so neither side has any idea yet what type of salary he will command. Bryant is currently the highest-paid player in the league at $30.5 million this season.
"As a businessman the goal is always to not take a pay cut," Bryant said. "But ..."
The Lakers had intended to approach Bryant about an extension this summer, league sources said, but those plans were tabled until Bryant got further into his rehabilitation from Achilles tendon surgery in April.
Bryant said he didn't intend to approach the Lakers about an extension until "the dust settled" on their other business this summer.
Earlier Tuesday, Bryant was asked by Lakers Nation, a fan website, if he would take a huge pay cut, possibly to a one-year minimum salary at $1.45 million, to stay with the Lakers. Bryant later told ESPN that since negotiations have yet to begin, it was pointless to bring up a number that he'd be willing to play for.
14hMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo
4dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer