Bryant Opts Not to Opt

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant did not opt out of his current deal and remains under contract with the Lakers for two more seasons, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.

The Finals MVP will once again have an option to opt out of his contract at the conclusion of the coming 2009-10 season, while the team is guaranteed to Bryant through 2010-11.

This information, confirmed due to the July 1 deadline for the ETO (early termination option) clause in Bryant’s contract, came as no surprise. Bryant had steadily insisted throughout the season and in his exit interview that his contract was not an issue: “You know I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

As Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga are now under contract through next season and the team has until August 1 to decide whether or not to terminate Sun Yue’s contract, the Lakers currently have 11 players under contract for 2009-10.

Unrestricted free agents Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown are allowed to speak with any interested parties – including the Lakers – during the ongoing free agency moratorium period which lasts through July 7.