Kobe Bryant has put to bed any rumours about his future by signing a two-year contract extension at Los Angeles Lakers thought to be worth $48.5 million.
The 35-year old is now expected to end his career with the Lakers and will not be moving elsewhere at the end of this season.
There were reports on NBA betting websites that Bryant would look for a new challenge as he nears the end of his career in the NBA but general manager, Mitch Kupchak, was delighted to break the news earlier this morning in a statement.
The deal is expected to still allow the Lakers to sign a top class free agent next summer. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony could both move on as their contracts are up at the end of the current campaign so Kupchak will be keeping tabs on those players.
Bryant has not featured yet this season as he is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that he picked up back in April.
The 2007/08 MVP remains the league’s highest paid player during his extension, which allows him to continue his 17-year association with the franchise. The first year of the new deal is estimated at $23.5m and then in the second year that will rise to $25m.
Bryant, a popular figure with fans who bet on NBA, began his career at the Lakers in 1996 and, since then, has won five NBA Championships. He is a regular in the NBA All-Star side, and picked up gold medals in the Olympics in Beijing and London for the United States.
After beating Sacramento Kings 100-86 on Sunday, the Lakers are now 7-7 this season as they sit third in the Pacific division of the Western Conference. Their next task is to travel to Washington on Tuesday to face the Wizards.