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As the NBA lockout negotiations head into their critical stage, maybe the last opportunity to save the entire NBA season, this Friday, before the league actually has to start cancelling games. While Kobe Bryant, among other NBA stars, might be entering the fray and joining the talks at the critical juncture, he is also entertaining a pretty lucrative offer from Italy. Derrick Rose, who has been off the radar since the season ended, is also thinking about the European move.

We’ll start with Rose, who made some big news with his comments this week, saying the lockout was unnecessary, stating the obvious, hurting a bit of the players’ cause AND maybe somehow helping to push the thing, just slightly, towards being resolved, hopefully.

Rose just came back from some R&R and is already entertaining a few offers. According to sources, he has one concrete offer. Despite that and other options, Rose won’t pursue the foreign basketball course until it is certain that some of the regular season games will be cancelled.

The most money overseas is waiting for Kobe Bryant – Italian team Virtus Bologna have offered Kobe 2.5 million dollars for a 40 day period to begin the season, hoping it will extend into something of a full season, if the season gets cancelled, for somewhere around 6.5-7 million dollars. Bryant, at least when speaking to Italian media outlets, seems very interested in the Bologna option – It’s very possible. It would be a dream for me. There’s an opportunity that we’ve been discussing over the last few days. It’s very possible and that’s good news for me.

Bryant spent 7 years when he was growing up in Italy, as his father spent 1984-1991 in Italy playing for five different teams. Italy is my home. It’s where my dream of playing in the NBA started. This is where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to move without the ball. All things that when I came back to America the players my age didn’t know how to do because they were only thinking about jumping and dunking.

On the other hand, Bryant will participate, among others high profile players, in the NBA Owners-Players talks on Friday. Despite Fisher being the voice of the union, having someone with the star power and intimidation factor Bryant holds within and possibly over the league, has many believing his participation should have a positive effect on the resolution or at least progress of ending the NBA lockout.