Kobe Bryant, who joined the Lakers when he was just 17 and right out of Lower Merion High School, will be 31 in August. He is being asked how much longer he plans to play.
"I don't know," he confessed last week. "I just love the game so much still. I just feel like there's still so much out there for me to improve on and work on. My body feels great. God willing, I stay healthy, I'll just keep going."
The Lakers are going after their 15th NBA title.
From Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Jerry West to Magic Johnson to Shaquille O'Neal, they've eventually had to say goodbye to some of the best players in league history and yet have made the Finals 30 times, the most of any franchise.
Bryant can become a free agent this summer.
"I don't think he's going anywhere now, but if someone throws part of the franchise at him or something like that, he could take it," teammate Luke Walton said. "But I don't think he's going anywhere."
Lamar Odom also will be a free agent but is coming off a season in which he made $11.4 million and averaged just 11.3 points per game, the lowest scoring output of his 10-year career.
"It'll take an offer I couldn't refuse to play somewhere else," the forward told NBA.com before adding that he does not expect that offer to come. "Hopefully, I'll be wearing a Lakers uniform."
The NBA yesterday awarded the 2011 All-Star Game to the Staples Center, the first time the game will be played in Los Angeles since 2004.