Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is said to be mulling offers to play overseas.
Now he apparently has something tangible to consider and that is a $600,000 per game offer to play for the Italian club, Virtus Bologna. This would be something of a homecoming for Bryant, who lived in Italy as a youth during his father’s professional basketball career.
Bryant, who speaks fluent Italian, would be a huge draw with Virtus Bologna. The team’s owner Claudio Sabatini told an Italian blog about his offer, which would start when the Italian League season opens on Nov. 13. How serious Bryant is about the offer is hard to gauge because he hasn’t commented on the matter.
But Sabatini is apparently serious, as he has also pursued San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobli. The interesting part is he may need a little financial help to pull this off.
"I can risk by my own the 50% of the total amount of money needed," Sabatini told Il Resto del Carlino. "For the other half, I need the help of private companies, professional associations and the municipality.”
If Sabatini is able to make it work for Bryant it could make even more sense, because he is willing to give an NBA opt out so that Bryant can return to the NBA once the lockout ends. The Chinese Basketball Association was not willing to give Bryant or any of the interested NBA players an NBA opt out — instead, it wanted to hold them to a one-year contract.
Now Bryant has to weigh the option of the value of staying in shape versus the potential risk of injury to his aging body. It’s not like Bryant is hurting for money, as some NBA players are, and he is willing to help financially. Bryant makes $25 million per season in the NBA.