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Is Kobe Bryant done in the NBA after his contract expires? 'Maybe'

Kobe Bryant says he'll play after his contract with Lakers runs out after next season ... if he feels like it

Kobe Bryant is in the first season of a two-year, $48.5-million extension.

Would he consider playing beyond his current contract, if the Lakers managed to quickly build a contender before the 2016-17 season?

"It don't know, maybe," Bryant said after practice on Thursday.

"It's really just my call, man. If I want to play, I'll play. If I don't, I don't," he continued. "If I don't want to play anymore, if I don't want to go through the process of getting my body ready, day in and day out, I'm not going to play."

The Lakers project to have sizable cap space over the next two offseasons, depending on how they utilize their resources.

The NBA's salary cap projects to climb significantly for the 2016 offseason, when the league's new national television contract kicks in.

The biggest free agent that summer would likely be Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Perhaps Bryant might consider sticking around, in the unlikely event the Lakers landed the reigning league MVP. The Lakers would certainly be interested in staying in the Kobe Bryant business.

"I hope he plays forever," General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday on Sirius XM NBA Radio, although he acknowledged that the team's assumption was that after Bryant's current extension, "you're probably at the end."

The Lakers (8-17) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-13) on Friday night at Staples Center.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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