Representatives for Kobe Bryant and Virtus Bologna are “working very intensely” on a deal that would allow the Los Angeles Lakers’ star to play in Italy during the NBA lockout.
“Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna and the management of Mr. Bryant are working very intensely to try and create this important deal,” the two sides said in a joint statement issued today. “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.”
Adrian Wojnaroski of Yahoo and Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine report that Bryant is pushing for a deal that would allow struggling teams to benefit financially from his presence. Bryant would have a 10-game contract and a deal is contingent on other teams changing their schedules so that Bologna would have give home games. In addition, Bologna is seeking to have its five road games played in Italy’s biggest arenas and to avoid a bye early in the season.