23 September 2011

Should Kobe Bryant Play in Italy During the Lockout?

The NBA lockout is looking more and more likely to go into the regular season, leaving open speculation that the season could be wiped out. And thus players are starting to commit to playing overseas on deals that would allow them to return. But there have been no high profile have chosen to play overseas, but Kobe Bryant could be that guy.
Bryant has kept speculation open over whether he will choose to decide to play in Europe or China and has not firmly denied said speculation. His best offer has just come up on the table with Italian club Virtus Bologna, but should he take it?
Virtus has been an underperforming club but they do play in a very competitive league, Serie A, and their proposed deals are extremely flexible, offering a one-year deal, two and one month deals, and even game by game deals. All come with a clause that he can return to the Lakers once the lockout ends. However I feel that Bryant should not take the offer.
The money is pretty good, but Bryant does not need it at all to the point of risking injury. I'm sure the deal will come with insurance for injury but can anybody put a monetary value on what Bryant means to the Lakers, especially with a new coach and an aging roster. Bryant is 33 years old and while he is still a boss on the court, he has lost a step no doubt. Even if he goes and plays a handful of games, he is still risking injury when he has no point too as well as the fact what would be the point of him playing a few games in Italy?
From what I hear, Italy is a beautiful country (my folks had their honeymoon there after all) but I do not think any potential reward exists that outweighs the risk.

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