Kobe, Italian team are working 'intensely' on deal

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Kobe, Italian team are working 'intensely' on deal

From Comcast SportsNet
ROME (AP) -- Kobe Bryant's representatives and Virtus Bologna are "working very intensely" to bring the Los Angeles Lakers' star to Italy during the NBA lockout. Bologna President Claudio Sabatini had told The Associated Press on Friday he had reached a tentative deal with agent Rob Pelinka for a 10-game contract worth more than 3 million. "Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna and the management of Mr. Bryant are working very intensely to try and create this important deal," the two parties said in a joint statement Monday. "Reaching such a complex deal requires both sides' maximum attention for every little detail. "Everyone wants a positive outcome to the deal, the goal of which is Kobe Bryant's presence in Italy, economic interests for the 17 clubs in Serie A and more attention for all of Italian basketball." The deal, however, hinges on other clubs changing their schedules to ensure Bologna has five home games during Bryant's 10-game contract. Bologna also wants its opening five away games played in Italy's biggest arenas, and wants to avoid an early-season bye. Smaller clubs Cremona and Varese have been reluctant to alter their schedules, although the Italian league said Saturday it was intervening to help spur an agreement. "I hope that very shortly we'll have a deal," Sabatini told the ANSA news agency. "I want to thank Kobe, who demonstrated again overnight that he wants to return to Italy." Bologna would need to have the deal signed by the end of this week to register Bryant before its opening game with Roma on Sunday. With Venezia recently added as a 17th team, the Italian league released its full schedule Monday. Although it could be changed again if Bryant signs with Bologna. After hosting Roma, Bologna visits Avellino the following weekend, then plays at Olimpia Milano, which recently signed Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari. In the following seven rounds, Bologna has home games with Cremona, Varese and Sassari; away games with Teramo, Montegranaro -- which is in talks with Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani -- and Biella; and a bye in the eighth week. Bryant lived in Italy between ages 6 and 13 while his father played in the country. He still speaks fluent Italian and has said it would be a "dream" to play in the country. In New York on Saturday, NBA owners and players failed to reach a new labor deal after about seven hours of talks focused mostly on the league's salary cap structure. The sides were meeting again Monday, though time is getting short to save the scheduled start of the regular season on Nov. 1.

Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan leaving for NBA Draft, but Vincent Edwards returning to Purdue

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USA TODAY

Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan leaving for NBA Draft, but Vincent Edwards returning to Purdue

The Big Ten Player of the Year is heading to the NBA.

Purdue announced Wednesday that big man Caleb Swanigan will keep his name in the upcoming NBA Draft, forgoing the rest of his NCAA eligibility.

Matt Painter and the Boilermakers will keep the services of Vincent Edwards, the senior-to-be opting to return to West Lafayette for his senior season.

Both players took advantage of rules allowing underclassmen to test the NBA Draft process, gather information from NBA teams and decide whether to return to college with their NCAA eligibility intact.

"These were very difficult decisions for both Vince and Caleb to make, and we are happy for both of them," Painter said in the school's announcement. "Vince has the potential to be one of the best players in the Big Ten. He is one of the most versatile players in the country and will use what he learned from this process to improve in all phases of his game.

"We are also happy that Caleb will be able to achieve his goal of getting drafted by an NBA franchise. He has set forth on this path for a long time, and we are thrilled that he will be able to realize his dream. We wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in the process."

Swanigan was one of the best college players in the country last season, averaging 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. He registered a whopping 28 double-doubles on the season, helping lead the Boilers to the Sweet Sixteen.

Swanigan, who spent two seasons in West Lafayette, is being projected as a second-round pick. Draft Express' most recent mock draft has Swanigan as one of the first 10 picks in the second round.

Edwards averaged 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game as a junior last season. He cranked it up at the end of the year after a slowish stretch in the middle of the campaign, scoring 21 or more points in three of the Boilers' final five games.

Losing Swanigan will obviously have a massive effect on Purdue's chances to win the Big Ten title next season, and his departure figures to dramatically alter the Big Ten landscape in general. The Boilers will likely remain a contender, but Swanigan's exit, albeit an expected one, could clear the way for Michigan State as the standalone preseason favorite for the league crown.

Dowell Loggains' energy suiting Mike Glennon, Bears QBs well

Dowell Loggains' energy suiting Mike Glennon, Bears QBs well

As Bears quarterbacks begin learning Dowell Loggains’ offense, they’re also in a getting-to-know-you phase with each other. 

While it’s not Mike Glennon’s job to develop Mitch Trubisky — that falls on Loggains and Dave Ragone — there does need to be some level of harmony from Glennon to Trubisky to Mark Sanchez to Connor Shaw in this unit. Coach John Fox is no fan of locker room drama, after all. 

The energy Loggains brings to practice could help foster some of that unit-level cohesiveness. Whether it’s through practice competitions or his spirited coaching style, it’s helped keep things lively as the Bears move through their offseason program. 

“He does a great job,” Glennon said. “He brings a lot of energy and he’s got that young personality that a lot of guys respond well to. It’s been great having him around along with a lot of other players and coaches, but he definitely does a great job bringing that energy.”

Shaw is the only holdover in the Bears’ quarterback room from last year, and even then, he suffered a season-ending injury during preseason play in August. The new guys are a 27-year-old signed to a $45 million contract, the No. 2 pick in the draft and a veteran who started two AFC Championship games. 

Good chemistry in the quarterback room doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s something that probably can’t hurt, especially with the development of Trubisky underway. That the Bears have been emphatic in defining Glennon’s role — it’s his year — set the right tone, Ragone said earlier this month. Adding Loggains’ energy in practice seems to have had a positive effect already, too. 

“With three new guys, they've worked very hard in the classroom and now finally we get to take it out on the field, so they're pretty enthusiastic themselves,” coach John Fox said. “And that's just Dowell's style.

“We have some pretty good guys in that room. Different levels of experience that have been there before and done it and that dynamic as far as being a good teammate and the relationship you have with that so I think that's why they handle it so well.”