A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday that the sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed.
Bryant, who spent much of his childhood in Italy, was in the country for sponsor appearances over the past two days but was flying back to the U.S. for labor talks with the NBA on Friday.
Bryant is expected to get a work visa and return to Italy next week.
"Kobe should be in Bologna by Wednesday or Thursday with his visa in hand for medical visits and then we can deposit the contract with the league," Sabatini said. "I want to make clear that right now there are still no signatures. We've got to write the contract, which will then be read over and over again."
Virtus had been due to open the season Oct. 9 against Roma, but schedules now need to be reworked after Venezia was added to the league as a 17th team.
The deal, which would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends, should last about 10 games.
Sabatini wants to create a special schedule that assigns Bryant's games to Italy's biggest arenas.
"This is an important investment and a unique chance for the city of Bologna and all of Italian basketball," Sabatini said. "I'm hoping everyone wants to collaborate."
The 33-year-old Bryant has three years and $83.5 million left on his contract with the Lakers.
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hit back at his critics on Thursday, saying he is far and away the best leader in Italian history and has never considered resigning over s
Italy is holding its first divorce fair, offering services such as life coaching and beauty advice to a booming number of separating couples in the Catholic country. The organiser