Sunday , Sep , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe to Virtus Bologna a Union bluff?

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a youth basketball clinic in Singapore that he didn’t know if there will be a 2011-12 season and hasn’t ruled out playing abroad. "I could," Bryant said Saturday. "I’m playing abroad right now."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will he stay state-side or go abroad?

This was the dilemma facing Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, who could earn millions of dollars per month playing outside the NBA.

However, the rumours, speculation, and gossip teetered off once the Chinese leagues restricted the escape clauses and talks heated up between the players and owners on a new collective bargaining agreement.

  Currently, the two sides are nowhere near a deal, which means Bryant is again considering his options abroad.

Perhaps he’ll tour Asia. Perhaps he’ll link up with a top squad in Europe. Currently, the owner of a prominent Italian club side is exploring ways to sign Bryant and pay the insurance on his NBA pact.

Or perhaps it’s a massive bluff. Bryant could be trying to pressure the owners, who hold all the cards and leverage in this lockout, by talking about suiting up in another league.

If so, it’s a Hail Mary. It may be the union’s best shot of getting some owners to move off their hard-line stance.

–Oly Sandor.

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