Kobe Bryant reportedly wants $15 million to play in Italy
When athletes say it's not about the money in contract negotiations, it's actually about the money.
That's why the NBA recently postponed training camp and 43 exhibition games. It's why league owners and the players union remain divided as they enter another meeting Tuesday in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. And it partly explains why Kobe Bryant hasn't committed to playing for the Italian pro basketball team, Virtus Bologna.
According to a report quoting Bolognabasket.it, Bryant rejected Virtus Bologna's $6.7-million offer and asked for a $15-million deal. After taxes, that would amount to $7.5 million. There's nothing wrong with this. Bryant rightfully commands top dollar considering he has a three-year, $83.5-million contract with the Lakers and he remains of the NBA's marquee players. But it just further confirms, as reported by The Times' Mike Bresnahan, that it's "far from certain" Bryant would remain in Italy past his Nike promotional appearances this week in Rome and Milan.
“It is very difficult to win in the NBA," Bryant told reporters in Greece. "You must reach your limits if you want to succeed. Of course, I want to win more NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now that there is a lockout, the phone rings. Anyone who wants to make me a proposal can call, from Greece or Europe."
Accepting a proposal, on the other hand, remains a completely different issue.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant conducts a clinic in Singapore last week. Credit: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press