Kobe Bryant's Italy controversy, NBA talks stir debate
--The Times' Helene Elliott criticizes the NBA for issuing ultimatums during negotiations surrounding a new collective bargaining agreement.
--Fox Sports' Sam Amico argues that more NBA stars, including Kobe Bryant, need to be more involved with the labor negotiations.
---The New York Times' Howard Beck outlines the importance of this weekend's meetings.
--CBS Sports' Ken Berger says he believes it's possible the NBA and the players could reach an agreement this weekend.
--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe expresses skepticism that Bryant will play in Italy.
---ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky talk with Bomani Jones about Bryant and the negotiations.
--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus details the Lakers' plan to provide ticket-holding fans with refunds should an NBA lockout persist.
--ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that NBA Commissioner David Stern is prepared to threaten cancellation of the season if the two sides don't reach an agreement this weekend.
--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen argues that owners and players risk losing lots of money if they don't reach a deal.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell looks at Fred Schaus' coaching career with the Lakers.
--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarwoski reports that Lakers owner Jerry Buss privately tells others that Bryant is worth $70 million to the team, far more than the $25 million he will make next season.
--Lakers Nation's Jonathan Garza looks at how Lakers Coach Mike Brown will run his offensive system.
Tweet of the Day:"Sources say Kobe Bryant's "imminent signing" in Italy is actually him pump-faking NBA owners into a compromise heading into this key weekend" -- DraftExpress (Draft Express' Jonathan Givony)
Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "If he goes over there and plays and then comes back here and can still play for the Lakers at a consistent/high level, that's fine ... if he goes over there and plays and wears/burns his body out ... " -- Marcy Robbins
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant. Credit: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press