Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
According to reports, Bryant has agreed to play the first 10 games — or 40 days — of the Italian league season with Virtus Bologna. The Associated Press reports the deal is worth $3 million. He can return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends.
“We have reached an economic deal,” Virtus president Claudio Sabatini told a Rome radio station, according to The AP. “There’s still some things to arrange but at this point I’m very optimistic. I would say it’s 95 percent done.”
The AP said Bryant is expected to get a work visa and return to Italy 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.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.