Kobe Bryant Is Willing to Shut It Down If Asked by L.A. Lakers

Get your fill of Kobe Bryant while you still can, because there's a distinct chance you might not see him suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers too many more times in the 2014-15 season. 

Lately, Bryant has been playing much smarter offensive basketball, declining to shoot as frequently and involving himself as a passer more often. His 17-assist performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night not only set a new career high, but it also showed his willingness to play the style of basketball that's most beneficial to the Lakers.

But what if that style involves sitting on the bench and wearing street clothes for the rest of the season? 

"I will do what they ask of me, but it's very, very hard for me to miss one game," the future Hall of Famer said after his team's loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, via ESPNLosAngeles.com's Baxter Holmes. "I'm not going to be here much longer, so the games that I play, I want to make sure that I'm playing and enjoying it and appreciating it." 

Bryant isn't just referring to listening to head coach Byron Scott and operating according to his desires within the confines of a half-court set.

"Seriously, I understand," he told reporters. "I understand. It's my responsibility to be ready every single night and when I step out there on the floor to give it my all. If they want to shut me down, if they decide to sit me out, I will do what's asked of me. It's that simple." 

Though he wouldn't necessarily like for his franchise to follow through, he's admitting that he would be amenable to Scott pulling the plug on his age-36 season. After all, it would keep him fresher for the more-important 2015-16 campaign, one that will give him a shot at the playoffs, an opportunity the 2014-15 season no longer offers.

The Lakers coach has brought up this possibility before. 


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