Lakers coach Byron Scott Kobe Bryant to keep playing — and he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep the star on the court.
Throughout a miserable 5-13 start to the season, Bryant has been a bright spot. He's leading the NBA in scoring with a 25.8 average in nearly 36 minutes per game.
"The one thing I've got to do is look at his minutes, and make sure I don't go overboard," Scott said before Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards.
The 16-time All-Star played 33 minutes in Tuesday night's win at Detroit, and said afterward he was tired. Scott says Bryant can set his own schedule — for practice.
"I don't need him in practice at all, to be honest with you," Scott said. "All he needs to know is what we're doing, coverage-wise."
The 36-year-old Bryant has one more year after this one on his contract. Scott is hoping he'll play longer than that.
"We'll talk about that," Scott said. "He's got a lot left in that tank. I think if we put something together that excites him, we have a real good chance of saying, 'play another year.'"
Scott has known Bryant since 1996 when they were teammates in the coach's last year as a player — and Bryant's first.
"He's still hungry. He still loves the game. He still loves the competition. He still loves going against these younger guys now because he was once that younger guy," Scott said.