SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans hoping to get their first taste of NBA action since last April will have to wait longer than originally scheduled.
The NBA announced this morning that it has canceled the first week of preseason games and "indefinitely" postponed training camps for the 2011-12 season because owners and players have not come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The Jazz were supposed to open fall camp on Oct. 3, and their first preseason game was scheduled for Oct. 9 at Portland.
Utah also had home games planned against Oklahoma City (Oct. 12) and the Los Angeles Clippers (Oct. 14), which have been called off. In all, the NBA canceled 43 games between Oct. 9-15.
"We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. "We will make further decisions as warranted." The NBA will decide by Oct. 1 what to do with the final two weeks of the preseason, according to Yahoo! Sports.=
Jazz preseason games that haven't been canceled yet include a three-game trip in Los Angeles against the Lakers and Clippers from Oct. 16-19, a home game vs. Portland on Oct. 21 and the franchise's first trip to North Dakota (against Golden State) on Oct. 25.
The regular season is scheduled to start at EnergySolutions Arena on Nov. 1 against Houston.
Kobe has offers to play basketball in Italy
LOS ANGELES — The lucrative offers, most of them real, keep rolling in for Kobe Bryant.
He got a contract offer this week from an Italian pro team, though it was far from certain Bryant would play there, according to a person familiar with Bryant's thought process.
Bryant will indeed be in Italy next week, but the trip is for scheduled promotional appearances for Nike in Rome and Milan.
The new offer is for a reported $6.7 million from Italian team Virtus Bologna, which begins its season Oct. 9 and would have to come up with a huge insurance policy to land Bryant, not to mention the actual cash to get the 13-time all-star to play on the perennially underachieving team.
Bryant, 33, is under contract with the Lakers for three more years and $83.5 million. He has several contract options from the Italian team, according to its general manager, including a shorter per-game deal that would work out to about $740,000 a game. All options are non-binding, allowing Bryant to return to the Los Angeles Lakers if the NBA lockout ends.
— By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times