Will Kobe Bryant end career with more rings than Derek Fisher?

The two have stayed linked through championship glory and respect.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher entered the NBA in 1996 with the Lakers as rookies and ended their partnership combining for five NBA championship rings. Though the talent disparity between Bryant and Fisher remained wide, the two developed respect for each other for their serious approach to their craft. And Bryant’s demanding leadership style complemented Fisher’s more inspiring touch.

Will Bryant end his career with more rings than Fisher?

That was the topic Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s Andy Adler and Dave Miller, 710 ESPN’s Beto Duran and myself tackled on a recent segment. It’s a timely topic for a number of reasons. Fisher announced he will retire after signing a one-year deal to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. Bryant’s in the final year of his contract with the Lakers worth $30.5 million, though he has stated he plans to go beyond that.

This season, Fisher appears to have a better chance in picking up the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Thunder still features Kevin Durant and will have a healthy Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, the Lakers have plenty of uncertainty including how they will absorb the losses to Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace and how Bryant’s game will look whenever he returns from a torn left Achilles tendon.

Bryant could have a chance to make up for lost ground this season, though. The Lakers’ plan to maintain financial flexibility into next offseason might not bring them LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. But it could bring another quality player, such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or Zach Randolph. Considering the Lakers’ historical success, it’s safe to predict they’ll reload enough to give Bryant a better chance at adding to his ring collection.

What say you? Will Bryant finish with more championships than Fisher? Vote in the poll below


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com