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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.