The Los Angeles Lakers signed Kobe Bryant to a two-year contract extension Monday, securing the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history into his 20th season with the franchise.
Bryant hasn’t played this season while recovering from surgery on his torn Achilles tendon in April, but the Lakers didn’t wait to renew their commitment to the five-time NBA champion before he got anywhere close to the free-agent market next summer.
Bryant, 35, inked the deal with owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak at his side in agent Rob Pelinka’s office.
The guard quickly tweeted a picture of his signature with the hashtag: Laker4Life.
“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Kupchak said in a statement. “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.”
MAVERICKS: Dirk Nowitzki moved past Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett on the NBA’s scoring list, at least for now.
The Dallas star made two free throws against Denver on Monday night to take over 14th place on the all-time list.
Garnett, who didn’t play Monday night, sits at 25,352 points. Bryant is the only active player ahead of Nowitzki at the moment. He is fourth all-time at 31,617 points.
Nowitzki has passed Jerry West, Reggie Miller and Garnett since Nov. 12.
TRADE: The Minnesota Timberwolves are trading former No. 2 overall draft pick Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute.
Two people with knowledge of the deal say the agreement was reached Monday night. The people requested anonymity because neither team has officially announced the deal.
GRIZZLIES: With his left knee in a big brace and a long rehab ahead of him, Marc Gasol vowed to return as soon as possible.
He will be on crutches for three to four weeks before he can start his work to return.
Gasol sprained his medial collateral ligament in a game against San Antonio three days ago.
He said that when he planted on his left foot he “felt the pop,” and knew something happened. There was no contact, and Gasol never went down before limping to the Memphis locker room. He said doctors were pretty sure it was an MCL sprain that night – a suspicion confirmed by an MRI on Saturday. He said that some of the tissue is “partially torn.”
Two other Memphis players – forward Zach Randolph and swingman Quincy Pondexter – have had similar injuries in recent years. Gasol said he talked to both of them about the recovery.
Once he heard no surgery was required, Gasol was ready for the trainers to tape up he knee, put on a brace and let him return to the court. But medical personnel told him the MCL sprain was more serious than he was considering.
“They wouldn’t listen to me,” Gasol said.