This situation quite obviously remains fluid.
From Sportando :
Virtus Bologna informed via its official website that Legabasket (the Italian League) rejected its proposal to make a special schedule for the Italian team in case of Kobe Bryant’s signing. Virtus asked to play as many games as possible during the 40 days of Kobe Bryant in Italy against the best teams and in the biggest arenas. The goal of Virtus was to have a big share and the biggest arenas sold out to make more money. The other Italian teams refused the request made by Virtus, and now the deal between Bologna and Kobe Bryant is on the verge of collapse. Having ten games in 40 days, all of them broadcasted, was one of the basis of the entire Kobe Bryant’s operation.
“Italian club Virtus Bologna said it has reached a verbal agreement with Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers star to play in Italy during the NBA lockout. “We have reached an economic deal,” Virtus president Claudio Sabatini told a local radio station. “There’s still some things to arrange but at this point I’m very optimistic. I would say it’s 95 percent done.” A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday that the sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed.”
In another interview, Claudio Sabatini confirmed that the agreement between Virtus Bologna and Kobe Bryant is for 10 games. The owner of Virtus Bologna added that the deal could be official today.
“The agreement is for ten games. We don’t have money also for the 11th one. I hope that today in the NBA they won’t find the agreement to start the season” said Claudio Sabatini. We also wish that in the morning in Los Angeles they will send us the contract’s draft. I want to thank Kobe Bryant’s agent. The negotiation with him was great and very professional” added Sabatini who hopes to have Bryant for the 1st round of Serie A against Virtus Roma on October 9th. “We are already planning the event. It is not easy because today he will be in the States and he has to go to our embassy to get the visa, he needs the letter of clearance from the NBA which allows him to sign with us and then be back to Italy to have medical tests. We have to send his contract to Legabasket by next Friday” ended Sabatini.
From Guido Guida of La Gazetta Dello Sport, regarding negotiations between Bryant and Virtus Bologna:
”Will I be coming to play in Italy? It’s likely. It would be a dream for me. There’s a chance it might happen and we’re discussing it at the moment. It’s very possible, and that’s good news for me.” The Lakers star is currently touring Italy with sponsors Nike (today he was at an event in Milan; tomorrow he will be in Rome), but he found time to be our guest at a private meeting in Sala Montanelli in Via Solferino, where he showed he’s as much a class act off the court as he is on it. He lived in Italy from the age of 5 to 14, having followed his dad here, and his Italian is still surprisingly good. He made no attempt to hide the fact that if the NBA lockout should drag on, he may well follow in his daddy’s footsteps. “Italy is my home,” he said. “It’s where I started to nurture my dream of playing in the NBA. This is where I learnt the basics, I learnt to shoot, to pass, to move without the ball – things that when I went back to the States my friends didn’t know how to do because all they thought about was jumping and slam dunking.”
By Chris Sheridan
Peter May resigned from SheridanHoops.com yesterday after ESPN told him he could not write for me and continue being a part-time contributor to ESPN-Boston.
Within an hour after May’s first and only column was posted on this site, ESPN e-mailed May — who is neither an ESPN staff member nor one of their legions of independent contractors, but merely a freelancer – to inform him of their displeasure.
They ordered him to make a choice, and I completely understand why he chose to stay with the larger of our two organizations. A longtime colleague and friend, he was eager to help me out with the launch of my new site, and he will be missed.
UPDATE: TheBigLead.com has picked up this story. Read it here.