The ball is now in Kobe Bryant’s court, a massive offer is on the table. But even with the lockout, I’d be surprised if he picks it up.
Thursday night officials from Virtus Bologna had a conference call with Rob Pelinka, the agent for Kobe, and laid out four different contract options, according to the Associated Press.
The largest offer is $6.7 million for the full season, followed by two-month and one-month options, and finally an increased per-game offer that works out to $739,640 per home game. Team sponsor Canadian Solar was on the call and will put up the money. Of course, all the options have an NBA out clause, in case the players and union settle their differences.
It is still well short of the $25 million Bryant is to make if there is a full NBA season.
First thing to note — all of this talk is coming from Virtus Bologna, not Kobe or his people. Virtus Bologna is playing a marketing game where they try to get Kobe in the most public of ways. Kobe is sitting back, listing to offers, and waiting.
Kobe’s got money. This is not about the money. If he goes it will be about international branding and getting the chance to play in the place of his youth (Kobe spent years in Italy as a child while his father played professional ball there).
But what Kobe wants more than anything is ring number six. He’s not young, he’s battling knee issues and it’s hard to see him putting extra miles on his body and risking injury just for the money. It’s hard to see him taking the risk to increase his brand. But it’s out there. And the longer the lockout drags on, the more interesting those offers become.