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Kobe Bryant and Lakers: 3 more years

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Kobe Bryant is staying with the Lakers for another three years.

The deal means the Lakers achieved two main objectives going into the season - signing Bryant and Pau Gasol to extensions.

"We were able to accomplish those goals, helping to keep the core of this team intact for the foreseeable future and in turn help to ensure the franchise's continued success over the years to come," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday on the team's Web site.

Financial terms of Bryant's deal weren't announced. Gasol signed earlier in the season.

Bryant, 31, could have terminated the last two years of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent last July. He could've gotten a new, longer deal if he had opted out, but he wouldn't have necessarily made more money.

Bryant is averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season for the West-leading Lakers. He's helped the Lakers win four NBA titles, including last season when he was the Finals MVP.

The 12-time All-Star was voted league MVP in 2008 when he helped the United States win a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. This season, he moved past Jerry West to become L.A.'s all-time leading scorer. - AP

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