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Kobe Bryant will decide on retirement after season ends, 'absolutely' thinks Lakers can make playoffs

Kobe Bryant opened up about both his and the Lakers' future heading into the season.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is going through his offseason media tour for Nike in China. He's also making time for Q&A sessions with major media outlets, it seems, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports shared a recent phone interview session with the five-time champion. The big retirement question came up, and Kobe once again hinted that he won't have any answers until after the '15-16 season.

"I'm making this very simple. Either I like playing the game and going through this process or I don't. I try to strip it down to the simplest form. Either I like playing some more or I don't," Kobe told Yahoo Sports. "But I think that decision needs to be made after the season. It's hard to make a decision like that before the season."

Bryant has echoed this sentiment repeatedly throughout the last few months, saying something nearly word-for-word during his Genius Talks segment with BET. Injuries have shortened his campaigns as of late, and his contract expires at the end of the season. If he gets through the season healthy will he go on? Will an injury motivate him to get back on the court and try to end things on his own terms? These are things he won't know -- and we won't know -- until the final buzzer of the season.

Could that final game of the year come in the playoffs? "Absolutely," Kobe said when asked if he thinks the Lakers team constructed this season can make a postseason push. Here's what he said of the revamped roster he looks forward to "running" with, via Spears:

"They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.

"How quickly can we get going? How quickly can we bring up [rookie D'Angelo] Russell, [Julius] Randle. [Jordan] Clarkson got valuable experience last year in playing that will benefit us tremendously. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to running with these young guns."

It won't be easy for the Lakers to turn from a 21-win team into a playoff contender, but the always-confident Kobe Bryant sounds up for the challenge. There's plenty of other insight -- like what Kobe's training has been like leading up to the new season -- to be read in the full session via Marc J. Spears, so be sure to check it out.

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