What was "very possible" on Wednesday is now much more probable. Italian team Virtus Bologna said on Friday that a verbal agreement has been reached with Kobe Bryant for the five-time NBA champion to play in Italy during the lockout, a source told the Associated Press.
According to the report, Virtus president Claudio Sabatini said the deal is "95 percent done" and that both sides have agreed on a contract worth $3 million for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season. The deal, which has not been signed, will allow Bryant to return to the NBA once the lockout ends.
The Lakers star, who lived in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 when his dad played there, said on Wednesday that it "would be a dream" for him and that Italy has always been in his heart.
Virtus Bologna offered the 33-year-old a one-season contract word $6.7 million last week, which was one of four different contract options the team proposed.
UPDATE: Despite the confidence expressed by Virtus Bologna that a deal with Bryant was firm, reports came out on Friday that it was "on the verge of collapse." According to Sportando, the deal is in jeopardy because the league refused to juggle the schedule as Virtus had requested. They had wanted to cram 10 broadcasted games into the 40 days of Bryant's pact but other teams resisted the scheduling changes. This conflict jeopardizes the agreement reportedly in place.
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