NBA star Bryant in talks over Italy move

Kobe Bryant began his NBA career in 1996 and has been with the Los Angeles Lakers ever since.

Story highlights

  • Kobe Bryant in talks over a move to Italian team Virtus Bologna
  • The NBA has been in a state of lockout since July
  • The lockout is over the collective bargaining agreement between the teams and players
  • Bryant's father Joe played in Italy for seven years
Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant is in talks with Virtus Bologna over a move to the Italian team as the NBA lockout continues.
Los Angeles Lakers' shooting guard Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, would be a massive draw if he opted to play for Bologna, who issued a joint statement Monday to confirm the negotiations.
"Virtus Bologna and the management of Mr. Bryant are working very intensely to try and create this important deal," read the statement on the website of the 15-time Italian champions.
"Reaching such a complex deal requires both sides' maximum attention for every little detail.
"Everyone wants a positive outcome to the deal, the goal of which is Kobe Bryant's presence in Italy, economic interests for the 17 clubs in Serie A and more attention for all of Italian basketball."
Bryant, named the NBA's most valuable player in 2008, spent seven years in Italy as a child, when his father Joe Bryant played in the country's Lega Basket Serie A between 1984 and 1991.
The NBA has been in a state of lockout since July, as a dispute between the players association and the teams over the league's collective bargaining agreement rumbles on.
The collective bargaining agreement is a contract between players and franchises which outlines how NBA stars should be paid. The current dispute is over the average salary which should be earned by players over the term of their contracts.
Talks were held over the weekend in an attempt to resolve the ongoing disagreement, but after little progress was made discussions were extended into Monday.
NBA training camps were also due to begin Monday, but they have been canceled as talks over a new labor agreement continue.