Virtus Bologna — much like Turkish side Besiktas — is making a very public run at signing Kobe Bryant. Sure, they’d like to get him, but if they don’t this is still great public relations (and Manu Ginobili could be the fall back).
If they are going to get him they are going to have to pay. Big time.
Kobe told them they would have to double their last offer to be in the conversation, according to a report by Sportando.
Kobe Bryant turned down the first proposal made by Virtus Bologna for him ($6.7M) and asked to the Italian team for $15M per year before taxes, as reported by Bolognabasket.it. After taxes, the salary would be around $7.5M per year. The counterproposal made by Kobe and his agent shocked (team owner) Claudio Sabatini who said that, with that amount of money, can offer to Kobe Bryant just a two-month deal.
Kobe is in Europe right now and is headed to Italy as part of a Nike-sponsored tour. He could meet with Sabatini and have a discussion at that time, although it is more likely his agent Rob Pelinka will handle the dirty work.
That said, while asked in Greece (as part of the tour) Kobe said he would listen to offers.
“It is very difficult to win in NBA. You must reach your limits if you want to succeed. Of course, I want to win more NBA title with Los Angeles Lakers. Now that there is lockout, the phone rings. Anyone who wants to make me a proposal can call, from Greece or Europe,” said Kobe.
For the record, I don’t think Kobe will play overseas for any amount of money, but it’s smart marketing to say he’d consider it.