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Kenyon Martin Gets Huge Overseas Deal. Is Kobe Bryant Next?

The parade of Denver Nuggets to China continues.  After Wilson Chander and JR Smith decided to follow the yuans, Kenyon Martin followed suit by signing the richest deal in Chinese basketball history.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to stay in shape and stay fresh,” said Andy Miller, Martin’s agent. “And it also gives him an opportunity to expand his name globally.”

Ah, the ol’ “expand his name globally” routine.  That’s what China is there for (as far as these guys are concerned).  Look at it from their perspective.  There’s no guarantee the lockout will end any time soon, and even if it does, he can come back around March and be a heavily sought free agent that can hook on to a team for a title run.  In the meantime, he’s making new fans in China, maybe signing endorsement deals and making millions more that he wouldn’t have had he just stayed in the US.  Let’s face it, the American market isn’t really clamoring for more KMart.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, his deal is worth $2.65 million, but because they’ll pay his agent and his fee, that jumps to about $3 million.  That’s not bad, but it might not be biggest foreign haul of the lockout.   That’s because Kobe Bryant is reportedly being offered $600,000 a game to play for Virtus Bologna in Italy. 

Remember, Kobe spent his childhood in Italy as his father played pro ball there.  He speaks fluent Italian.  And the money?  Well, that’s twice as much as he’ll be getting per game as he makes more than $25 million next season.  That’s a lotta lire (I know they use euros now. Please don’t comment).  Assuming Kobe gets to leave whenever he wants, this might be the deal that actually lures him away. 

And with all due respect to Deron Williams, a Kobe Bryant defection would be the one that makes everyone REALLY take notice.  It may not signal anything monumental as far as talks go, but I can’t imagine the Lakers would be entirely trhilled with their guy, and his aging knees, burning whatever minutes he has left in Italy.  

Hey remember when this happened a few days ago?

when the owners left the players to meet among themselves for around three hours, Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert and Phoenix’s Robert Sarver expressed their dissatisfaction with many of the points, sources said. The sources said that the Knicks’ James Dolan and the Lakers’ Jerry Buss were visibly annoyed by the hardline demands of Gilbert and Sarver.

How pissed do you think Buss would be at Gilbert and Sarver when his only hope at catching the Boston Celtics for a 17th championship bolts and puts who knows how much wear and tear on those legs?  I would imagine that would be the point where any rifts in ownership would start to really show themselves.