Basketball

NBA notes: Kobe playing in Italy 'very possible'

MILAN — Kobe Bryant said it's "very possible" he will play in Italy during the NBA lockout, adding the country is like home because he spent part of his childhood there.

Virtus Bologna has made numerous contract offers to the Los Angeles Lakers star. Bryant discussed the offer with the Gazzetta dello Sport during a sponsor's appearance in Milan on Wednesday.

"It's very possible. It would be a dream for me," Bryant said, according to the Gazzetta. "There's an opportunity that we've been discussing over the last few days. It's very possible and that's good news for me."

Bryant later spoke to a crowd — in Italian — at the event in Milan.

"I don't know what's going to happen over the next three or four weeks, but Italy has always been in my heart," Bryant said.

Virtus told The Associated Press that the latest talks are centered on a $2.5 million offer for 10 games over 40 days from Oct. 9 to Nov. 16. That would come out to about $1.5 million after taxes.

The deal would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends.

The 33-year-old Bryant spent several years in Italy when his father, Joe Bryant, played on five teams from 1984-91. The elder Bryant, who once owned a small part of Olimpia Milano, now coaches the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.

"Italy is my home. It's where my dream of playing in the NBA started. This is where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to (move) without the ball," Kobe Bryant said, according to the Gazzetta.

Labor talks continue

NEW YORK — NBA owners and players will meet Friday and perhaps through the weekend, with Commissioner David Stern warning there are "enormous consequences at play" as the sides try to preserve an on-time start to the season. With the Nov. 1 season opener a little more than a month away, Stern said there would be "a lot of risk" to not having an agreement by the end of this week.

Sabonis has heart attack

KAUNAS, Lithuania — Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis is in stable condition after suffering a heart attack. Doctors in Sabonis' hometown of Kaunas, Lithuania, said Wednesday that the former NBA player is in intensive care, but the heart attack is not life-threatening.

The 46-year-old Sabonis was taken to a hospital Tuesday night after going into cardiac arrest while playing basketball.

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