The Italian club Virtus Bologna have offered Lakers star Kobe Bryant a $6.7 million deal to play in Italy.
Bryant has received interest from various teams in Europe due to the NBA lockout. The most notable interest prior to Bologna’s was from Turkish giants Beşiktaş Milangaz. With Turkey and Italy being KB24’s most likely destinations, the Lakers guard will be faced with a tough decision between the two.
A move to Italy would mean that Bryant would return to a country that he spent a great deal of time in when he was a kid. Virtus Bologna executive Massimo Faraoni told the Associated Press, “I think the fact that he’s lived in Italy makes this appealing to him.”
On the other hand, a move to Turkey would mean more money in Bryant’s pocket. Not only does Kobe already have an endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines, but joining Deron Williams on Beşiktaş Milangaz would surely be another huge incentive. The back-court tandem of Williams and Bryant would instantly make Beşiktaş Milangaz the team to beat in Europe.
But my guess is that Kobe will play in Italy, either for Virtus Bologna or Emporio Armani Milan. Since Armani Milan have already signed 23-year-old Italian sensation Danilo Gallinari and ex-San Antonio Spur forward Malik Hairston, they may not have the capital to snag the Lakers guard. For this reason, Bologna is surely the front-runner to sign Bryant at the moment.
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