July 17, 2011 / 7:35 PM / 6 years ago

Bryant keeping options open during lockout

<p>NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles to fans upon his arrival at a stadium during his 2011 China Tour in Changsha, Hunan province July 16, 2011.Joe Tan</p>

NANJING, China (Reuters) - Kobe Bryant has said he is keeping his options open for next season while the National Basketball Association (NBA) remains in lockout.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard has been linked with a move to Turkish team Besiktas but said he had not made up his mind because of the uncertainty over the NBA.

"One thing about basketball is that it is a global sport now," Bryant told Reuters in an interview.

"So you can play anywhere you want to. As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls."

Bryant, who has won five NBA championship rings with the Lakers, has also been linked with a possible All-Star tour of Asia and again said that he was not ruling out anything.

"Whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or here in China decides to call, I'll be ready," he said.

The NBA ordered a lockout of players earlier this month after prolonged talks on a new collective bargaining agreement collapsed.

NBA officials have said 22 of the league's 30 clubs are losing money and that they are seeking contract changes to offset net losses they claim run to some $300 million.

The lockout has raised doubts about whether next season will start on time or go ahead at all.

Reporting by Royston Chan; Editing by Mark meadows; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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