There are exactly TWO WEEKS till training camps across the NBA are scheduled to start, if the players aren’t locked-out of course! Today is the 82nd day since the NBA players went on strike, and it seems as if NOTHING has changed since Day 1. Few of the players from the NBA took matters into their own hands and…..left the NBA. Forever? Maybe not, but for now, yes. Many of the players that left temporary(again, maybe) are players like Leandro Barboso(Toronto) and Nicolas Batum (Portland) are returning back to Brazil and France, their country of origin. Foreign-born players were always speculated to leaving the NBA for basketball leagues in their home country. What many people were waiting on was a BIG name player to take their talents overseas. Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets was the first big name to ink with an overseas team, “Beşiktaş” from the Turkish basketball league. Other big name players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant have flirted publicly that playing overseas is an option that they may exercise. The big name though, Kobe Bryant, has been mentioned many times about playing overseas. Kobe has publicly came forward during interviews and expressed his desire in continuing to play professional basketball during the lockout, and it seems as if Kobe’s agent, Rob Pelinka, has made that desire come true. Kobe’s camp is currently hammering out a deal that will pay Kobe $600,000 each game for the Italian team “Virtus Bologna.” Kobe is due to make $25 million this season from the Lakers, but if their is no season, then no money.
Kobe’s love for the game cannot be bought. Kobe has played in games ranging from the Olympics to Rucker Park, it does not matter to him as long as their is a hoop. Kobe playing the season in Italy is a huge possibility, he spent plenty of years in Italy and is fluent in Italian. The NBA doesn’t seem as if it will begin on time, let alone at all. If the NBA does begin sometime this season their is a clause in the contract that allows Kobe to leave the team and return back to LA. So why not?!
An injury could jeopardize the $25 million or even the entire contract itself which is a three-year $90 million contract. Small potatoes. That is money that Kobe will only miss out on, not lose. The same Owner of the Virtus Bologna, Claudio Sabatini, is also trying to lure back former Bologna star Mannu Ginobili back to the team as well. Seems as if it could be the making of a colossal team in Bologna?! Everyone knows how much Kobe wants to play with a competitive team, and to say that you won a NBA Championship, Olympic Gold Metal, and a Italian League Championship, not many players can say that. The NBA lockout does not look like its going to end anytime soon, and life does go on and bills have to be paid. If Kobe joins the growing pool of NBA players this offseason that have defected from the NBA to an overseas team, the owners may have to rethink their negotiating strategies. If their are no NBA players left, then their will be no league. So who will be the next NBA superstar to go, cause it doesn’t look like the owners are going to back down anytime soon!