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Kobe Bryant's reported deal with Italian team may be in jeopardy

September 30, 2011 |  8:41 am

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant may not play overseas in Italy after all. As quickly as the oral agreement was reported early Friday morning, it appears to be in jeopardy.

Virtus Bologna, which was said to have reached an oral agreement with Bryant to join the team for $3 million for the first 40 days of the Italian League season, beginning Oct. 9, has met scheduling roadblocks for that deal to work.

According to a Sportando report, the agreement is on "the verge of collapse" because Italian basketball league Legabasket rejected Virtus Bologna's proposal for schedule accommodations that would ensure Bryant played 10 games within that period.

Team owner Claudio Sabatini told reporters that scheduling 10 games against top opponents would ensure enough broadcasts and gate revenue to pay for the team's deal with Bryant.

Even though Sabatini had said "we have reached" an "economic agreement with Kobe Bryant" and that the "deal is done at 95%," there were still a few logistical details to work out. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarwoski tweeted  that "no agreement is imminent." Though the deal hadn't been finalized, the Associated Press reported that Bryant planned to get a work visa and return to Italy sometime next week to sign a contract. 

But then this schedule issue cropped up.  There appears to be as much uncertainty about Bryant going to Italy as with the negotiations surrounding the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.  

"It would be a dream for me," Bryant told the Gazzetta dello Sport while making a promotional appearance Wednesday for Nike. "There's an opportunity that we've been discussing over the last few days. It's very possible, and that's good news for me."


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-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Noel Celis / AFP/Getty Images