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Kobe weighing Italian offer

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.

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.

Talks ended after two days Wednesday so negotiators could return home before summoning their respective bargaining committees to New York for the most important stretch of the lockout. They are prepared to meet through the weekend if progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement is being made.

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. But both sides said there hasn't been enough progress to put them on the verge of a deal.

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