The general manager of the Virtus Bologna, one of the most storied professional basketball clubs in Italy, is optimistic that a deal with NBA star Kobe Bryant will be reached and even described the complex agreement as "95 percent" completed.
Virtus Bologna's GM Claudio Sabatini confidently told the Associated Press on Friday that Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka has already agreed to a 35-40 day, ten-game contract worth $3 million.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and a 13-time NBA all-star, said earlier during the week that him playing in Italy is "very possible" Bryant spent several years of his childhood in Italy, where his father Joe played professional basketball in the 80s. The elder Bryant even once had a minority stake with the Olimpia Milano.
Virtus Bologna offered several proposals to Bryant during the week, particularly short and flexible deals worth $700,000 a game to $5 million a season.
Reports of Bryant playing overseas have spread like wildfire since the start of the NBA lockout. Last July, Turkish basketball club Besiktas announced that they are within an arm's length of signing the former NBA MVP but eventually settled with New Jersey Nets' all-star guard Deron Williams and NBA journeyman Zacha Pachulia.
With the NBA lockout entering its fourth month and pre-season games being postponed, NBA players have started to seek offers overseas. Several notable NBA players such as Williams, Pachulia, Dallas' Rudy Fernandez and Denver Nuggets' Kenyon Martin, Danilo Gallinari, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler have already signed with professional clubs overseas.