Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kobe Bryant getting closer to deal with Italian team

LOS ANGELES — Things are very intense in Italy, apparently.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is getting closer to reaching a 10-game, $3.2-million contract with Italian pro team Virtus Bologna, though there’s a little issue with revenue sharing.

Two Italian teams remain reluctant to tear up the old schedule and give Bologna more home games this month to maximize Bryant’s appearances with the team. Bologna also wants its first five road games held in Italy’s largest arenas, according to media reports.

A joint statement sent out by Bologna and Bryant’s representatives acknowledged the parties were working "very intensely" to strike a deal.

"Reaching such a complex deal requires both sides’ maximum attention for every little detail," the statement said. "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."

Serie A would be Bryant’s new league. Any contract he signs with the Italian club would allow him to return to the NBA if the lockout ends.

Bryant was in Italy last week for promotional appearances on behalf of Nike and would need to sign soon with Bologna. The season opener for Bologna is Sunday.

Bryant, 33, had a procedure on an arthritic joint in his right knee in Germany earlier in the summer. If he plays in Italy, he will probably do so "fairly carefully," according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Translation: there probably won’t be many blind crashes to the hoop or wild dunk attempts.

Unlike the NBA schedule, the Italian league schedule currently features only one or two games a week, which would benefit Bryant.


(c)2011 the Los Angeles Times

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