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Kobe Bryant near one-game, $2-million deal with Italian team: owner

October 12, 2011 |  7:22 am

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant may appear in at least one game with the Italian team, Virtus Bologna, for $2 million.

So says team owner Claudio Sabatini, who hasn't been shy about making such bold declarations even if they turn out not to be true. The latest: Sabatini told Il Resto del Carlino he's secured a network deal and unspecified sponsorships to pay for Bryant's proposed $2-million per-game appearance fee, to be dubbed "Kobe night." Sabatini did leave out one kind of important detail. This whole scenario hinges on Bryant actually accepting the offer. 

Still, with the NBA canceling the first two weeks of the regular season, it wouldn't be surprising if Bryant would latch onto this idea. Single-game appearances would feed some of his competitive juices. It would mark a return to his childhood roots in Italy. It wouldn't prove as risky to his body as a long-term deal might. Plus, the money actually marks a higher pay rate than the $83.5 million he'd be due with the Lakers through the 2013-14 season. 

Still, it remains to be seen how much more negotiations and details need to be ironed out before Bryant actually puts on a Virtus Bologna uniform. 


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--Mark Medina

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Kobe Bryant greets a fan in Rome during a visit last month. Credit: Riccardo De Luca / Associated Press