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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2011

Italian team still courting Bryant

AP

Rome — The Italian team Virtus Bologna says its top offer to Kobe Bryant is a one-year contract worth $5 million.

With NBA players locked out, Virtus hopes the Los Angeles Lakers star agrees to a deal before he arrives in Italy this week for a tour arranged by one of his sponsors.

"An Italian brand well known around the world" is prepared to provide cash for the deal, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Monday, indicating the unidentified company is not Bologna's main sponsor, Canadian Solar.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing, said the other offers on the table include a two-month deal worth nearly $2 million, a one-month contract for $1.3 million or $900,000 for only one game.

All of the offers are pretax and would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends. Bryant spent part of his youth in Italy while his father, Joe, the former Tokyo Apache coach, played in the country and he speaks Italian, prompting Bologna to hope he might return for sentimental reasons.



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