The NBA lockout is on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will be taking a vacation. After months of speculation, Kobe has signed on to play ball in Italy for the Italian club Virtus Bologna. The 33-year-old star will play approximately ten games during the lockout:
“We have reached an economic deal,” Virtus president Claudio Sabatini told a local radio station. “There’s still some things to arrange but at this point I’m very optimistic. I would say it’s 95 percent done.”
A source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press that the sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season.
Kobe speaks fluent Italian and lived in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13, and he will obtain a work visa to return to Italy late next week.
“Kobe should be in Bologna by Wednesday or Thursday with his visa in hand for medical visits and then we can deposit the contract with the league,” Sabatini said. “I want to make clear that right now there are still no signatures. We’ve got to write the contract, which will then be read over and over again.”
There is a clause in his contract that if the lockout ends, Kobe will be able to get out of his deal with Virtus Bologna and return to the states immediately if needed.