All summer teams across the globe have sought the services of the lockout Kobe Bryant. He has had offers, requests, and pleas China, Turkey, and Italy. It looks like Vitrus Bologna, of the Italian League, has finally seen their lure bob and have a bite on their line. However, it might take some time, and a complex agreement, to reel in the biggest fish in the NBA.
If Bryant were to play for Vitrus, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, he would want the entire league to benefit from his presence there, not just the team he plays for. As of Friday, that is what his representatives were trying to work out. Bryant also wishes, if the lockout continues, to cause the least amount of disruption to the Italian League’s schedule if he does join Vitrus.
Yet, for more teams to benefit from the arrival of Bryant, Vitrus’ schedule would be altered so that games in which he appears will be played in larger venues. Other teams are not so keen on the idea of changing the schedule. Furthermore, Legabasket rejected the idea of creating a revamped schedule for Vitrus.
What is interesting is that the Lega Serie A, the league that Vitrus Bologna plays in, would not alter its schedule to boost the overall profits of every club that faced Bryant while he was there. It is no secret that Italy will be the next country that will be bailed out so that they do not go into default, Greece was bailed out this week. Is this just how business is ran (into the ground) in Italy? Bryant has the power to draw crowds that the Italian League has never before seen. A simple schedule alteration cannot out weigh the benefits of having an international superstar on the court, if only for a few games. Perhaps they should look to Dirk Nowitzki to play in their league, it is the Germans who are bailing out the rest of Europe anyway.
Not only are there scheduling issues that need to be resolved, but there is also the matter of paying Bryant. The original deal with Vitra Bologna would have paid him $3 million for 10 games over the course of 40 days. Any deal would, of course, also contain an opt-out clause allowing Bryant to return to the NBA if the lockout is ended. There had been speculation that a percentage opposing teams’ ticket sales at away games would be used to pay part of his salary. That was before talks fell apart late on Friday.
All the while Bryant is in Italy working on a deal, he is keeping his ear to the ground. As the labor talks enter a crucial weekend, it is believed that, if needed, he would swoop into New York and enter the fray of negotiations. Luckily, his clutch stats will not have any bearing at the bargaining table. Until he receives the call he, along with his representatives, will continue to work for progress in Italy.