Kobe 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.
Power forward Josh Powell and center D.J. Mbenga will remain on the Lakers’ roster for the 2009-10 season after L.A. opted not to terminate their respective non-guaranteed contracts by the July 1 deadline, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.
Powell and Mbenga each had a year left on their contracts, and since neither was acted upon, the 6-10 and 7-0 post players are guaranteed through the coming season.
Powell averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11.7 regular season minutes and 2.1 points with 1.2 boards in 5.2 postseason minutes during L.A.’s championship run. He showed his value when afforded ample playing time, highlighted by a 17-point, 9-rebound performance on March 11 at Houston when the Lakers were without Andrew Bynum (injury) and Lamar Odom (suspension).
Mbenga won the rights to L.A.’s third center position as the Lakers sent Chris Mihm to Memphis for a draft pick, and made the most of his 7.9 minutes per game in the regular season by blocking 1.04 shots in that time. He even inspired his own cheering section of the upper deck with fans often sporting “Banging with Mbenga” t-shirts.
Mbenga will join the Belgian National Team this summer in preparation for EuroBasket 2009, while Powell, star of J-Peezy’s Playlist, is currently working out in his hometown of Atlanta.
Rookie guard Sun Yue currently has one year left on his two-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers, and according to team spokesman John Black, L.A. has until August 1st to decide whether or not to terminate his contract.
In the meantime, Sun said in his exit interview that he’s deciding whether or not to play with the Chinese National Team this summer.