Kobe won't sign with anyone else unless it is Jerry West, and I think it would have to be a very good deal in order for him to do that. He has never said that he is going to opt out of his contract. I don't think he will leave since his wife has strong ties to southern California, they just had a baby, and they built a new house. Not to mention that he has won three championship rings here, soon to be four. In the LA Times today, Kobe said if he were a gambler, he would bet that he would still be here. I'm not going to believe anything until I hear something from Kobe's lips or see him in a new uniform. Even if Phil and Shaq leave, it would give Kobe an opportunity to win a championship on his own. For those who think Jerry Buss is a cheap, don't forget the guy who owns the team on the other side of the arena. The thing that will make the Lakers want to keep Kobe is 1) he's the best in the league, 2) he's still only 24, and 3) he would destroy them every time he played against them after that. Kobe will want to stay here because of his wife and daughter, his championships, it's been his favorite team since he was a little kid, and the great weather. (Well, maybe the last one's a little weak, but the weather is definitely a lot better here than in Memphis... and I don't think Vanessa would particularly like the weather there) Anyway, this is just one more example of the media running off at the mouth and trying to stir up trouble. Like T.J. Simers of the LA TImes said, the media will be the reason Kobe leaves, if he ever does. Kobe has said time and time again he would love to finish his career here. Why would the Lakers want to get rid of one of the best player in NBA history? Doesn't quite make sense, since they can offer him more money than any other team. So, I don't think there's anything to worry about until Kobe actually does opt out of his contract or signs with another team.