The Lakers' Kobe Bryant isn't going anywhere, team executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss told espnla.com Friday.
Bryant, 35, is set to become a free agent at the end of this year, and with the roster, and really the entire franchise, in flux, there have been questions about whether it would be best for both the team and Bryant to part ways, allowing the 15-time all-star guard to pursue championship opportunities elsewhere and the team to truly start fresh.
But Buss says forget it.
"I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent," Buss said. "That's not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He's a Laker legend and always will be. I don't think we're done winning championships with him yet.
"(General manager) Mitch Kupchak and (Bryant's agent) Rob Pelinka have been talking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don't know when it'll get done, but I have faith in Rob and Mitch to work things out."
The team announced Friday that Bryant, who is trying to return from Achilles surgery, will not play in the regular-season opener Tuesday against the Clippers.
"No," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "My God, I know he's Superman, but my God. He hasn't run yet."
Bryant has not come close to practicing with the team yet. His basketball activity has been limited to spot shooting during training camp.
The Lakers have yet to update the official recovery timeline of six to nine months for the 18-year veteran after Bryant suffered the Achilles tear April 12 of last season.
Jazz: Free agent Jamaal Tinsley rejoined the team, which is trying to shore up a backcourt weakened by the injury to Trey Burke.
Suns: The team exercised its options on twin forwards Markieff and Marcus Morris and center Miles Plumlee.
T-wolves: The club has exercised its fourth-year contract options on point guard Ricky Rubio and small forward Derrick Williams.
Warriors: The team waived undrafted rook guard Seth Curry, younger brother of all-star guard Stephen Curry.