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Italian team reportedly offering Kobe Bryant one-game contract

October 6, 2011 |  9:33 am

Kobe Bryant

In what may be the last effort to milk publicity, Virtus Bologna owner Claudio Sabatini has offered Kobe Bryant a one-game contract in case the 10-game contract worth $3.3 million doesn't suit him.

"We thought about the one-game option to speed up the negotiations," Sabatini told Sportando. He could land on Sunday, play the game against Benetton Treviso next Wednesday and maybe stay longer with us. People who don’t agree about the idea to have Kobe for just one game, have to understand that we all hope he can stay longer. Furthermore, Kobe has to be back to the States in two weeks because of his sponsor. Now we are waiting for his final answer."

So has the rest of the general public, but Bryant didn't offer much insight after attending Tuesday's NBA labor negotiations in New York. "I'm up in the air," he told reporters.

The possibility of Bryant returning to his childhood roots during the NBA lockout took many twists and turns. Shortly after Sabatini claimed Bryant's $3.3 million deal was 95% complete last week, the club met resistance from the Italian league in rescheduling games so that Bryant could appear in 10 contests in 40 days against marquee opponents. Both Virtus Bologna and Bryant's representatives then released joint statements on Monday saying both are working "very intensely" to finalize a deal. ESPN the Magazine's Ric Bucher and Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowksi also reported that Bryant is pushing for a deal that would allow other Italian teams to enjoy the financial benefits of his presence.

But it remains unclear whether this venture will actually happen. Bologna opens its season Sunday against Roma, and Sabatini indicated Bryant has to return to the United States in two weeks because of unspecified sponsor obligations.

"Now we are waiting for his final answer," Sabatini told "We can just say that we tried to do as much as we could to have him with us."


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Photo credit: Matteo Bazzi / EPA / September 28, 2011