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Kobe Bryant says he’s not leaving Lakers to chase rings

Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant chews on his jersey during NBA game in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant chews on his jersey as he turns around to listen to coach Mike Brown during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Los Angeles December 29, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)


Right now, Steve Nash is the guy in the “trade him so he can get a ring” spotlight, even though he’s not pushing for a trade.

But if the Lakers keep deteriorating, it’s not impossible to imagine that day coming for Kobe Bryant, either.

Well, it is for Kobe. He told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN he is not leaving the Lakers.

“Why would I want to go somewhere else, that ship sailed in (2007),” Bryant said. “If there was ever a time I was going to move to go play someplace else, that was it. I’m not going to jump ship to chase a sixth ring, it’s just not going to happen.

“It’s going to happen here or it’s not going to happen.”

I’m not sure anyone thought he was leaving at this point, except for a few delusional Knicks fans. But there is your confirmation.

So, how long will he hang around and be a Laker? Kobe wouldn’t put a date on it, but he’s not one to hang on too long.

“You think I’d hang around and average 18 points, 19 points… hell no.”