kobe bryant

Nothing is official, and verbal agreements to sign a contract pending the ability of the team owner to actually get the money to make it happen aren’t set in stone. But Kobe Bryant is now pretty close to actually signing in Italy. Wait and see if it materializes.

UPDATE: Already, this report is being shot down. It may not be true. Apparently the owners need a lot of magic to make this thing happen, and it probably won’t. But here’s the earlier report:

The AP reports:

Italian club Virtus Bologna has reached a verbal agreement with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to play in Italy during the NBA lockout.

The sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday.

Bryant, who spent much of his childhood in Italy, was in the country for sponsor appearances over the past two days but was flying back to the U.S. for labor talks with the NBA on Friday.

Bryant will get a work visa and return to Italy next week, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed.

Virtus had been due to open the season Oct. 9 against Roma, but schedules now need to be reworked after Venezia was added to the league as a 17th team.