We’ve hashed out the free agency possibilities for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh this upcoming summer, and we’ve still got three months before they’re even allowed to start flirting with other teams as free agents.
Sure, LeBron could be a Clipper, Knick, Net, or Bull at the start of next season.
Yes, D-Wade could go back home to Chicago to team with Derrick Rose, creating the single scariest backcourt in all of the NBA.
And yes, with Toronto’s allergy to defense coming back out in the spring months, Bosh is likely to go anywhere but Toronto this summer.
But there’s one huge name out there who’s got the opportunity to become a free agent and who’s gone largely unnoticed up until now: Kobe Bryant.
After turning down the opportunity to opt out last summer, and winning an NBA championship with the Lakers last season, it’s hard to imagine Kobe leaving Los Angeles after this season.
But this is the NBA, where amazing happens. Stranger things have happened in free agency. (Talk to Cleveland about Carlos Boozer if you remain unconvinced.)
If the free-agent dominoes fall the right way, these are five reasons that Kobe could decide to opt out of the final year of his $24.8 million contract and leave the Lakers this summer.