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Kobe Bryant gets $6.7-million offer from Italian team, but …

The offer to Kobe Bryant from Italian team Virtus Bologna is the latest in a string of proposed lucrative foreign deals targeting the Lakers star. However, it's far from certain he'll accept.

September 23, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan

Kobe Bryant has received a reported $6.7-million offer from an Italian team, but it was far from certain Bryant would play there, according to a person familiar with Bryant's thought process.

The lucrative offers, most of them real, keep rolling in for Kobe Bryant.

He got a contract offer this week from an Italian pro team, though it was far from certain Bryant would play there, according to a person familiar with Bryant's thought process.

Bryant will indeed be in Italy next week, but the trip is for scheduled promotional appearances for Nike in Rome and Milan.

The new offer is for a reported $6.7 million from Italian team Virtus Bologna, which begins its season Oct. 9 and would have to come up with a huge insurance policy to land Bryant, not to mention the actual cash to get the 13-time all-star to play on the perennially underachieving team.

Bryant, 33, is under contract with the Lakers for three more years and $83.5 million. He has several contract options from the Italian team, according to its general manager, including a shorter per-game deal that would work out to about $740,000 a game. All options are non-binding, allowing Bryant to return to the Lakers if the NBA lockout ends.

"I think the fact that he's lived in Italy makes this appealing to him," Virtus Bologna executive Massimo Faraoni told the Associated Press. Bryant's father, Joe, played professionally in Italy when the Lakers star was younger. Virtus Bologna hasn't won its league since 2001.

Even if Bryant doesn't take the offer seriously, he continues to be a man in motion since having a non-invasive procedure on his bothersome right knee in Germany three months ago.

He made promotional appearances this summer in the Philippines, China and Singapore, scored 43 points in a pro-am game in Los Angeles, played in a celebrity soccer game in Washington, talked briefly with teams in Turkey and China about playing pro basketball there, and was headed to Europe for more paid appearances next week.

Bryant's actions contrast those of the NBA, which continues to be bogged down by the lockout and on Friday postponed the opening of training camps for all 30 teams.

The league also canceled 43 exhibition games, three of them involving the Lakers: Oct. 9 vs. Golden State in Fresno, Oct. 12 vs. Atlanta in Ontario and Oct. 15 vs. Atlanta at Staples Center.

The Lakers were scheduled to open camp Oct. 4, with their annual media day taking place Oct. 3. Both events have been postponed indefinitely because of the lack of progress in NBA labor negotiations.

NBA Commissioner David Stern hinted at such actions Thursday when he said "the calendar is not our friend" after a fruitless five-hour negotiating session with representatives of the players union in New York.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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