CBA Meetings Set To Resume; Bryant Considering Italian Club Offer

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In what could be described as a small injection of optimism, the NBPA and owners have cancelled internal meetings this week in favor of resuming negotiations in New York on Tuesday. If history is any indication, this can be considered progress, as neither side during the ’98-99 lockout met between the time they cancelled the first part of training camp and the preseason (9/24/98) and the time they nixed the remainder of the preseason (10/5/98).

These meetings are expected to be short-lived, as Wednesday marks the beginning of Rosh Hoshanah (the Jewish New Year), which will significantly affect attendance.

Adding to the urgency of the situation, well known agent David Falk, who was involved in the ’98-99 lockout negotiations, told Fan 590 in Toronto that, “I could make this deal in one day.” He went on to say:

“We’re right up against the deadline. Unlike ’98, when we had a 50-game season, I would bet a lot of money that if we miss one or two games, we’re going to miss the whole season. This is like Texas Hold’em; it’s all in.”

He even alluded to a failed sense of responsibility on the part of some NBA stars, including the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant:

I’m disappointed that the young stars of the NBA today, the LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, those guys need to be involved full-time, not part-time. … I think that they are allowing other people to determine their future financial fortunes, which is a terrible mistake.”

It appears the Kobe and his agent have been doing a little bit of negotiating themselves, this time with the Italian club Virtus Bologna. According to reports, Virtus has offered Bryant a variety of deals in addition to the one year, $5 million offer for the upcoming season:

- 2 months = $2 million.
- 1 month – $1.3 million.
- 1 game = $900k.

Each deal would allow Bryant to return to Los Angeles if the NBA lockout is resolved and play resumes. If a deal is reached, Bryant would be in uniform for Bologna’s season debut vs. Roma on October 9th.

Jason Riley is the executive director of LakerNation.com. He also pens a regular opinion column, Out of Bounds, and is the co-host of Voice of the Nation: Fastbreak. He currently splits his time in Los Angeles, CA and Carlsbad, CA.