Kobe Bryant has agreed to play in Italy during the NBA lockout, according to reports.
Sources close to the Lakers' superstar say that Bryant will head overseas to play for Virtus Bologna next week if owners and players can't reach a deal over the weekend.
The two sides will go into today's negotiating session in Manhattan - which Bryant intends to participate in, along with several other superstars - far apart in their 92-day old labor dispute.
Since no deal is expected to come out of the weekend talks, Bryant reportedly is getting his paperwork in order to travel back to Italy, where he just made a promotional appearance. The deal with Virtus is for $3 million, with Bryant agreeing to play in 10 games.
But before he heads back to Italy, where he grew up when his father, Joe, played professionally, Bryant is hoping that his presence today, along with several of the game's top players, will pressure owners to come to the table with a better deal for players. But that is viewed as a long-shot, with owners dug in on blowing up the current economic system and drastically reducing players' salaries.
The two sides have been stalemated for over two years on how to divide $4.3 billion, with owners demanding the implementation of a hard salary cap to replace the current soft cap. Owners claim that they have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few seasons, with 22 of the league's 30 teams losing money this past season.
Bryant, so far, is the top player to reach an agreement to go overseas. If he ends up playing in Italy, he would be released from his contract whenever the NBA and its players make a deal. The Nets' Deron Williams was the first star to sign overseas and has been playing in Turkey.
3 MILLION FOR 10 GAMES IS NOT BAD! F**K THE BULLSH!T!