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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 09/23/2011

Kobe Bryant offered $6.7 million from Italian team Virtus Bologna

It seems each week during the NBA lockout a new rumor surfaces about an overseas team trying to lure Kobe Bryant into the international basketball market.
Is Kobe’s latest overseas offer too good to pass up? (Lucy Nicholson - Reuters)

NBA Lockout: League expects to postpone start of training camp

But the latest contract offer before the Los Angeles Lakes superstar might be the best yet — for financial and sentimental reasons.

Italian club team Virtus Bologna has reportedly offered Bryant a $6.7 million contract to play in the country when he grew up.

Virtus Bologna general manager Massimo Faraoni told the Associated Press he’d made the pitch on the phone with Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, team president Claudio Sabatini and team sponsor Canadian Solar, which would help cover the salary.

During a clinic in Singapore over the weekend, Bryant told the Associated Press he’s still open to playing abroad.

“I could,” he said. “I’m playing abroad right now.”

The proposed deal provides plenty of flexibility for Bryant with the uncertainty of the NBA lockout. His options start with a one-year deal and include one-month and two-month options. Bryant could also sign a per-game deal that would payout $739,640 per home game.

Bryant, who speaks Italian, lived in Italy during his childhood while his father played with four Italian teams from 1984-91.

In July Bryant was courted by Turkish club Besiktas and at least one Chinese team has also been in the mix for the 13-time All-Star.

Among the numerous NBA players contemplating going overseas during the lockout, several big names have already signed contracts. Nets guard Deron Williams signed on with Besiktas, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler of the Nuggets plan to play in China and teammate Ty Lawson will play for Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas.

Elsewhere in the lockout life of Bryant, San Diego prosecutors are reviewing accusations by a man who said Bryant injured him during a church scuffle last month. The man alleged Bryant snatched a cell phone — which he said Bryant believed was being used to take a picture of his wife — away from him during a service at Carmel Valley church, injury his wrist. Bryant denied the allegations.

By  |  10:53 AM ET, 09/23/2011

 
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