APNewsBreak: Virtus says deal done for Kobe Bryant

By ANDREW DAMPF | September 30, 2011 | 3:35 AM EDT

U.S. basketball player Kobe Bryant arrives at the Campidoglio capitol hill in Rome, Thursday, Sept. 29. 2011. Kobe Bryant said it's "very possible" that 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 team has made numerous contract offers to the Los Angeles Lakers star.(AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

ROME (AP) — Italian basketball club Virtus Bologna says it has reached a verbal agreement with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to play in Italy during the NBA lockout.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season.

Bryant was in Italy for sponsor appearances over the past two days but was flying back to the U.S. for labor talks with the NBA on Friday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed, says Bryant will get a work visa and return to Italy next week.

Virtus had been due to open the season Oct. 9 against Roma, but schedules now need to be redone after Venezia was added as a 17th team.