Kobe Bryant said he plans to stay with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and won't opt out of his contract this summer. Phil Jackson said his health will dictate whether he returns as coach.

Bryant met with Jackson and general manager Mitch Kupchak for an individual exit interview yesterday.

The NBA Finals MVP can terminate the last two years of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He has spent his entire 13-year career with the Lakers, winning four NBA titles.

Bryant will turn 31 in August. He averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds during the Finals, when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in five games.

Yao rumors. Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has called a possible move to Cleveland an "unknown" amid rumors that the Cavaliers' new Chinese part owners want to sign him.

In a recent interview with his hometown Shanghai TV station, Yao said he continued to have "much affection" for the Rockets, the team that took him in the first round of the 2002 draft and with whom he has played all six of his NBA seasons.

Yao has not won a championship but hopes the Rockets can contend next season.

Nowitzki case. Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki wants sole custody of his former girlfriend's unborn child if genetic tests prove he is the father, according to a court filing in a Texas district court.

Nowitzki wants custody of the child due to be born to Crystal Taylor, who was arrested May 6 at the player's Dallas home and is being held at the Jefferson County jail in Beaumont, Texas.

Meanwhile, FBI agents in Texas have seized recordings of threatening jailhouse phone calls made by Taylor to Nowitzki's attorney, ESPN.com reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the investigation said.

Foreign affairs. The NBA will play its first game in Taiwan on Oct. 8 when the Denver Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers in an exhibition at Taipei Arena.