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Byron Scott not certain when Kobe Bryant will retire

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The Lakers head coach does not think it is a given that Bryant will hang up his sneakers in 2016.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently said Kobe Bryant 'has indicated' he will retire after 2015-2016 season. The head coach of the Lakers, Byron Scott, does not seem to think Bryant's retirement is quite that imminent, and said as much during an appearance on the Jim Rome Show (transcription via Lakers Nation):

"I won't believe [Bryant is retiring in 2016] until I hear that from him face-to-face once next season is over," Scott said. "I know he has a year or two left in the tank, and I know if he stays healthy we can be a very good basketball team. But we're going to take it one day at a time, I know that."

Bryant is coming off of a 2014-15 season where he averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in 35 games played, impressive numbers on their face for a 36-year old who was returning from two consecutive season ending injuries.

But Bryant's season ended prematurely when he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder in a January game against the New Orleans Pelicans, and even before his injury had begun to show cracks in his purple and gold armor. The future Hall of Famer had the worst defensive rating (112.6) among Lakers who played in more than 10 games and shot just 37.3% from the field with a usage rate of 34.9 (the fourth highest in his 19-year career).

If Scott can resist the temptation to force feed Bryant as many possessions and minutes, then perhaps his skepticism about 2015-16 being Bryant's final season can be proven correct. But according to everything Bryant has said (and tweeted) publicly, this looks like the farewell tour for number 24.