Ginobili’s agent denies Italy report

NEW YORK — With the first two weeks of NBA regular-season games likely to be canceled come Monday, speculation continues to build about players heading overseas, including two of the Spurs’ “Big Three.”

It appears likely that as soon as the cancellations become official, All-Star point guard Tony Parker will sign with Asvel, the team in Lyon-Villeurbanne, France, in which he has an ownership stake.

An Internet report out of Italy on Tuesday indicated Spurs All-Star guard Manu Ginobili, who played several seasons in Bologna, Italy, had agreed to sign with Italian League power Virtus Bologna if Lakers star Kobe Bryant turned down a lucrative deal Virtus has offered him.

Ginobili’s agent, Herb Rudoy, on Tuesday emphatically refuted that report, writing in a text message, “Not true!” when asked if Ginobili had made any such agreement.

Bryant, who attended Tuesday’s negotiating session in New York between the NBA’s owners and players, was non-committal about his offer from Virtus Bologna. The negotiating impasse that likely will wipe out the first two weeks of the regular season frees him to play there, but doesn’t necessarily mean he will.

“I don’t think there’s anything stopping it or pushing on it,” he said. “I think it’s its own separate structure. The developments that it has to what’s going on here is that I have time to be able to play overseas. In terms of what’s holding up the deal is the same as any other deal.”

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