Kobe Bryant has been at the center of rumors for months now, but according to a new report from Rome, he's verbally agreed to play for Virtus Bologna in Italy during the NBA Lockout. As the Associated Press reports, the club president, Claudio Sabatini, told a local radio station, "We have reached an economic deal. There's still some things to arrange but at this point I'm very optimistic. I would say it's 95 percent done."
As he continued, Sabatini said:
"Kobe should be in Bologna by Wednesday or Thursday with his visa in hand for medical visits and then we can deposit the contract with the league. I want to make clear that right now there are still no signatures. We've got to write the contract, which will then be read over and over again."
An anonymous source with the team said that the initial deal with the team would be worth $3 million for the first 40 days of the season. It's worth noting that Kobe's been close to signing with foreign teams before, so going from 95 percent to 100 percent is easier said than done.
Nonetheless, if Kobe's verbally agreed, then he's closer than ever to finally making the leap overseas, and doing it in the country where he was raised. As he said earlier this week during a promotional tour in Italy, "Italy's my home. It's where my dream of playing in the NBA started." And now it looks like the dream may come full circle.
You can read the initial AP report here, and we'll keep you updated as more news emerges.