According to reports Kobe Bryant has made a verbal agreement with Italian club Virtus Bologna. If true the news is no real surprise as the flirtations between Bryant and Bologna have been ongoing for over a week now. The real news is of the bad sort. As in how bad a sign is this for the NBA?
First things first with this supposed deal. We’ve been here before with Besiktas though this situation feels much different. On one side you’ve got the Italian club reporting the deal is 95% done. On the other you’ve got the major hurdle of the entire Italian league schedule being tailored to Bryant standing in the way.
So before we author any headlines let’s wait until we have official confirmation from Bryant himself. Still the fact that these talks have progressed this far sends some ominous signals throughout the hoops world.
Whatever the real deal is this is tough pill for the NBA to swallow.
Bryant is among the pillars of professional hoops in this country. On the eve of the most important negotiating session to date, with the season hanging in the balance, Bryant bolting to Italy says a lot.
The move says that the NBA season is almost certain to be abbreviated as evidence by Bryant agreeing to a condensed deal worth $3-million for 40 days of work or so.
The move also says that even though labor negations are in progress there isn’t much faith.
But that is just Bryant’s stance. More specifically it’s one blogger’s opinion of where he stands.
Bottom line is Bryant could be risking some of what’s left in his tank in a league outside of the States. Bottom line is the NBA is at the crossroads. Bottom line is Bryant is right there too.
Whatever comes of the weekend bargaining session will most certainly determine the ultimate fate of the 2011-12season and the near future of Bryant’s career. We’re all waiting but most of us share the sentiments of Bryant – it could be time to just move on.