It seems Kobe Bryant does not want any idle time during the NBA lockout. The LA Lakers star and his management team are working intensely to send him to Italy until things get back to normal here.
Bryant’s representatives and Virtus Bologna say they trying to ink a deal that would allow Bryant to play in Italy in the event of an NBA lockout. The deal hinges on whether other the team’s Italian rivals will agree to alter their schedule.
“Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna and the management of Mr. Bryant are working very intensely to try and create this important deal,” the parties said in a statement Monday. “Reaching such a complex deal requires both sides’ maximum attention for every little detail. Everyone wants a positive outcome to the deal, the goal of which is Kobe Bryant’s presence in Italy, economic interests for the 17 clubs in Serie A and more attention for all of Italian basketball.”
On Friday, Virtus Bologna owner Claudio Sabatini told Sportando the “deal is done at 95%.” Such an agreement is expected to entail paying Bryant $3 million to appear in 10 games over 40 days. The remaining 5%: persuading the Italian basketball league to allow Virtus Bologna to change its schedule to ensure Bryant would play against the league’s top teams in marquee arenas.
The Italian league released its schedule Monday, subject to change should Bryant sign with Bologna. But time is running short. Bologna opens its season Sunday against Roma.
“I hope that very shortly we’ll have a deal,” Sabatini told the ANSA news agency. “I want to thank Kobe, who demonstrated again overnight that he wants to return to Italy.”