SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 14: NBA player Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers participates in an teaching session for South Korean fans during a promotional tour of South Korea at the Korea University on July 14, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant Reportedly Working On Deal To Play In Italy During The NBA Lockout

Kobe Bryant reportedly reached a deal to play with Virtus Bologna in Italy during the NBA lockout, but it may already be falling apart.

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Kobe Bryant, Italian League In 'Intense' Talks, Says Star's Management

Kobe Bryant's management released a statement alongside Virtus Bologna, saying that both parties are working "very intensely" to send the star to Italy. According to Bologna president Claudio Sabatini, a tentative 10-game, $3 million deal has been reached with Kobe's agent Rob Pelinka. Here's Sabatini:

"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."

The only thing holding up the deal at the moment is a scheduling issue. Bologna wants to have at least five home games during Kobe's 10-game stint, and try to book the biggest arenas they can for away matches. Such reshuffling obviously requires a lot of cooperation from smaller clubs who probably aren't too thrilled with the move.

Bryant must have a deal signed by the end of the week to be eligible for the Serie A season opener against Roma on Sunday.


Kobe Bryant Still Working On Deal In Italy, According To Report

Kobe Bryant is still working on a deal to play with Virtus Bologna of Italy during the NBA lockout despite major hurdles, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Earlier Friday, Bologna's president told the media that the club and Kobe were 95 percent done with a deal, but later reports put the deal in peril as the Italian league refused to alter its schedule to allow Virtus to get Kobe for the right number of games.

But Wojnarowski reports that Bryant and Bologna are willing to share in the financial windfall the L.A. Lakers' star's arrival in Italy if it convinces the league to make schedule changes. Woj indicates that Kobe's camp has been working directly with the league, and that Bologna's bombastic president Claudio Sabatini has been making things more difficult.

Bryant would be the highest-profile player to sign overseas during the lockout. Deron Williams was the first to pull the trigger, signing with Besiktas of Turkey in July.


Kobe Bryant Signing In Italy Is No Done Deal, According To Report

Kobe Bryant came to a verbal agreement with Italian club Virtus Bologna to play 10 games in 40 days for $3 million dollars early Friday morning. Fast forward just a few hours later, however, and it seems that the deal reported to be "95 percent done" has already fallen apart.

Virtus Bologna apparently was unable to get the league they play in, Lega Serie A, to drastically alter their schedule. The plan was to optimize its schedule in order to allow Bryant to play in as many games as possible during his weirdly specific contract, but the league has shot that down, according to a report from Sportando Basket.

Italian Serie A plays one game per week, usually on Sunday, but Virtus asked to play also in the middle of the week and against the most important clubs to have a huge share and more tickets sold in the biggest arenas. Today Legabasket rejected the proposal to make special schedules for Virtus.

This is obviously a developing report, but it looks like it might be a little while longer until the Los Angeles Lakers' superstar officially signs to play somewhere overseas during the NBA lockout. If these reports stand, it would be the third time it seemed like Bryant was close to playing abroad -- first in China, then in Turkey -- before something fell through at the last minute.

Hopefully the lockout just ends this weekend so the will he or won't he discussions don't keep happening over the next few months.


Kobe Bryant And Italian Team Virtus Bologna Have Conference Call Scheduled

Kobe Bryant is getting ever closer to signing in Italy, apparently. The latest reports indicate that Italian team Virtus Bologna and the Los Angeles Lakers' All-Star have a conference call in the works.

Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, "responded" to Virtus Bologna's offer from earlier in the week, according to a release posted on the team's website. It's unclear what sort of response Pelinka issued regarding the $6.7 million offer from the Italian team, but the fact that there's a conference call planned is probably good news for the fans in Italy hoping to watch the Black Mamba ply his trade in Europe this season.

And yes, there are apparently plenty of fans in Italy hoping for Bryant to return to the country in which he spent a decent portion of his formative years -- The team has even set up an e-mail for those fans interested in helping secure Bryant's services (translation via Google Translate).

We call on all white fans and enthusiasts to help us bring in Bologna an ambassador of basketball in the world such as Kobe Bryant, convincing him directly with your email messages to be sent to All your calls will be published on our website.

If it works, I am ready to set up the e-mail for everyone to help us end the NBA lockout.


Kobe Bryant Has Offer From Italy's Virtus Bologna For Big Money During NBA Lockout

Kobe Bryant playing overseas has been mentioned numerous times during the NBA lockout, but every time there seems to be some sort of hurdle that gets in the way. The latest offer, coming from Italy, seems to be a deal that might have some traction. 

Italian club Virtus Bologna has offered the Los Angeles Lakers' superstar $6.7 million to play in the country where Bryant spent the formative years of his life, according to a report from the Associated Press.  The team has already inked Chris Douglas-Roberts for the upcoming season.

Massimo Faraoni, the team's general manager, told the AP that he's been on conference calls between Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, Bologna president Claudio Sabatini and main sponsor Canadian Solar, which would provide payment to Bryant.

Virtus has given Bryant four different contract options, stretching from the one-year deal to two-month and one-month options, and a per-game deal that would come out to $739,640 per home game.

Considering Bryant speaks French and is familiar with the country, this is probably the most realistic deal currently on the table. That doesn't mean we are any closer to seeing the Black Mamba playing a season outside of America, but at the very least, it's still an option worth keeping an eye on as the lockout progresses.


Kobe Bryant, Virtus Bologna In Talks For NBA Lockout Diversion In Italy, Says Team

Virtus Bologna has announced that it is speaking with Rob Pelinka, the agent for Kobe Bryant, in an effort to bring the L.A. Lakers' superstar back to Italy should the NBA lockout remain unresolved. Via Kevin Ding, the Italian club announced on its website that management will speak to Pelinka on Thursday.

Kobe's camp has spoken with at least one other club, as talks with Turkish side Besiktas -- which signed Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets in July -- dragged on for a couple weeks. But the Besiktas deal fell through, and chatter about Kobe playing overseas died down.

Virtus Bologna last week signed free agent Chris Douglas-Roberts, last of the Milwaukee Bucks and previously of the Nets, to a deal. As was the case with Besiktas, the team is looking for sponsors to pick up the tab for Kobe, at least in part. Bryant spent a chunk of his childhood in Italy while his father, Joe Bryant, played professionally with Mike D'Antoni and others. Kobe is speaks fluent Italian.

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