LOS ANGELES, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- With Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott cutting his playing time, Kobe Bryant has shown a spurt of resurgence. Still, with the Lakers out of the playoff picture and the 36-year-old superstar descending, the end to his brilliant career seems closer than ever before.
Bryant, who is fourth overall in All-Star balloting this season, is averaging 24.1 points per game but shooting a career worst 37 percent from the field. His 35.2 minutes per game are his lowest since 2010, when Bryant started all 82 games.
On Dec. 14, Bryant knocked out a serious career milestone, passing Michael Jordan for No. 3 all-time in points scored. According to Orange County Register reporter Bill Oram, Bryant does not plan to play beyond the 2015-2016 season.
Bryant averaged 37.1 minutes per game in November and averaged 34.2 mintues in December. Bryant played 32 minutes in his last two games and had a triple-double, with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists Dec. 30 at Denver.
Kobe: "If you asked me if I’m going to play beyond that, right now the answer is no."— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 31, 2014
Scott rested Bryant for three games at the end of December. The coach told ESPN's Arash Markazi that he speaks to Bryant prior to games to get a status update on his health.
"We talk about it daily," Scott told Markazi. "We talked on the plane after the Denver game. I told him, 'Look, we'll just see you Thursday, but I'll give you a call Thursday morning and let's talk about it.' That's basically how we're doing it every day. When he tells me he feels good, OK, let's keep that going by not coming in here and trying to overdo it. If he says he feels a little down or his energy level is not there, then basically I'll tell him to stay home. It goes day by day."
Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 contract that expires after next season. The deal pays him $23.5 million this year and $25 million next season.
The Lakers (10-22) roster the only active players remaining from the 1996 NBA draft with Bryant and 40-year-old teammate Steve Nash.
On Dec. 26, Bryant told Los Angeles Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan that he "needs to hit the reset button."
Bryant turns 37-years-old Aug. 23.