ESPN: It wasn’t long ago that Kobe Bryant reportedly wanted out of Los Angeles. He’s not going anywhere now.

Fresh off winning the championship, the Lakers guard decided not to exercise an early termination option in his contract and will return for the 2009-10 season, a league source told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.

Bryant is scheduled to make $23 million next season by not opting out. He also has a player option to opt out of his contract in the 2010-11 season. The Lakers will work with Bryant over the summer and fall to hammer out a new, long-term extension, according to the source.

After two straight first-round exits from the playoffs, Bryant requested a trade in the spring of 2007, saying that he didn’t like the direction the team’s rebuilding was going.

The Lakers then went out and traded for big man Pau Gasol. Los Angeles increased its win total from 42 games to 57 and went to the NBA Finals, eventually losing to the Boston Celtics. The Lakers bounced back with a 65-win season in 2008-09, made it back to the Finals and beat the Orlando Magic for the title. Bryant distinguished himself by winning his first championship without Shaquille O’Neal. The duo won three from 2000 to 2002.

  • RJ

    OMG i thought he was leaving so shocked lol

  • Myself

    I’m not a Kobe hater like a lot of people(you know who you are), but if Kobe really wants to keep this team together….he should really consider taking a pay cut as Lamar said he would do. I know this is the man’s job and hes proven himself to earn that kinda of money. But of they really want to repeat next year, he should consider the idea. Heaven forbid not being able to live on 20 million.

  • 242LakerFan

    I read it this way. Why make an unsure situation even moreso? With this decided, they have one less thing to worry about. Plus, he could still opt to renegotiate a now existing contract to make room for Trev and/or Lamar.

  • trade_lamo

    Name one super star player that has ever done that! Did NBA’s favorite player MJ ever do that? NO! Will NBA’s love child “LeBrick” James ever do that? NO! Why should Kobe???????????????

    LeBron and MJ have more from Nike alone than Kobe’s making from his current contract. People – please stop it!

    Lamar should take a pay cut because he didn’t earn his money up this point. He was over paid. See the difference? And Ariza is asking for too much money ( $9 Mil per) – that’s too much. If Ariza wants that much money, I say this:

    Sign Ariza for $9 Mil, take him and add Sasha VujaBrick and trade them both to the suns for Amare Studamire. This is plan B.

    Kobe, Lamar, Pau, Amare and a PG – this would be the starting line up and Bynum off the bench along with Brown. You’ll win the next 4 years ….

    Mitch ? you listening????????????

  • kwame4mvp

    why the eff is this news?

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #77719 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Tim Duncan did it as he is set to remain a Spur at least through 2012. From an article from 2007.

    Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Duncan — a 10-time All-Star — could have commanded a two-year extension worth a maximum $51 million. Duncan has agreed to take $11 million less, freeing up money for the Spurs to rebuild around him after the 2009-10 season, when his current deal was set to expire.

    Please Mitch, don’t listen to this man.