By Nick Gibson of

***Read full article on Sheridan Hoops.***

Tony Parker hired himself for minimum wage, Andrei Kirilenko pointed a gun at Viktor Khryapa and Kobe Bryant got a step closer to Virtus Bologna, even though it may be only temporarily.

Three players—three All-Stars—that have played their entire (American) pro careers in one uniform are ready to wear new colors in exchange for money while the lockout sorts itself out.

It’s been a busy week.

But busy means great for European basketball, right? Not absolutely. While the continent would never pass up an injection of raw talent, the side effects aren’t all good. At least not for all involved parties.

Let me show you what I mean, deal by deal.

Kobe Bryant to Virtus Bologna (deal not yet official)

For Kobe: B+

To anyone who thinks Kobe’s motives are anything but Kobe-driven, I’d urge you to reconsider. It’s to put pressure on the owners. You think Stern & Co. needed Kobe to bounce before accepting this lockout was real? Kobe is going to Virtus Bologna for Kobe. Once this work stoppage wraps up, he will return the victor. Three million for 10 games, an offer than now reportedly morphed into megabucks for one exhibition game. More money than Deron Williams will make in Turkey for a fraction of the court time. Meanwhile, Bologna is trying to shift games into larger venues to accommodate the masses and avoid public humiliation (Hey bro, you see that Kobe highlight on SportsCenter last night? Seen bigger gyms in my rec league.) Plus, he gets to dust off his Italian and enjoy culinary treasures on a daily basis.

It all sounds lovely, but Laker fans would hate to see Kobe’s body tick its best remaining tocks in Italy. Glory lives forever. Joints do not.

For Virtus Bologna: D+

During Bryant’s proposed stay in Bologna, their games will be must-watch — especially if the lockout forces the postponement of… Continue Reading.