Bologna finds sponsor to fund Bryant move

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Bologna finds sponsor to fund Bryant move

ROME - Bologna president Claudio Sabatini claims to have found a sponsor capable of funding a big-money move for NBA star Kobe Bryant on a short-term contract.

Bologna has offered the Los Angeles Lakers scoring guard $800,000 to play in its first three home games of the new season.

And although Sabatini didn’t reveal who the sponsor is, he said the money was there.

“We have a sponsor supporting us. It’s an Italian company that’s known all over the world,” he said.

“We will soon have a meeting but I can’t tell you any more.”

Originally, Bologna wanted to sign the 33-year-old on a short-term deal, but due to the NBA lock-out they are also looking at an option for the whole season, according to reports.

If NBA teams and players don’t find a resolution to their dispute and the 2011-12 season is cancelled, Bologna is looking at finding $5 million to bring Bryant to Italy.

“It’s a huge gamble but I want to try right to the end. I’m an optimist even if we’re aiming very high,” added Sabatini.

In any case, Bryant will be in Italy next week with his sponsor Nike, spending a day in Milan and another in Rome.

“I don’t think we’ll have any news within the next week, not least because to finalize the contract, which will be like a bible, you need several days,” added Sabatini, who is said to have received encouragement from Bryant’s agent Rob Pelinka.

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