The team's official Twitter account confirmed the agreement with a snapshot of what looks to be a very pleased Kobe Bryant alongside general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss:
A look at Kobe's signature, from the Black Mamba himself:
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne reports that the extension will pay Bryant roughly $48.5 million over those two seasons:
Kobe's contract will be $23.5 million and $25 million, source tells ESPNLA.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 25, 2013
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com added another interesting detail about the significance of this extension:
Kupchak was ecstatic that both sides were able to come to an agreement, per Lakers.com:
This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization. We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.
While the move may seem like a no-brainer, some will argue it's a risky one for the Lakers as Bryant is 35 years old and currently recovering from a ruptured Achilles that he suffered last April. He has yet to suit up for L.A. this season, but he led the team with 27.3 points per game in 78 regular-season appearances in 2012-13.
According to Spotrac.com, the Black Mamba is scheduled to earn nearly $30.5 million this season and would have become an unrestricted free agent at season's end had the two sides not reached a deal.
A beloved figure in and around L.A., Kobe has helped bring five championships to the Lakers over the course of his 18-year career, and has earned a plethora of individual honors, including the league MVP Award in 2008.