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Turkish Club Freezes Pursuit Of Kobe Over Soccer Scandal

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

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(CBSSports-Royce Young) —
Turkish basketball club Besiktas has already made quite the splash in signing Deron Williams for next season, provided NBA games are lost because of a lockout.

What could be bigger? What could make more noise? Oh, just signing the biggest basketball star in the world.

Via ESPN.com, Besiktas is in hot pursuit of Kobe Bryant too. One problem though: That little soccer scandal that has frozen all accounts? Yeah, it’s kind of getting in the way here. Via Turkey’s NTV Spor, the Kobe chase has is being held up because of the scandal. Kobe was reportedly offered $500,000 per month (Williams is getting $200,000), but Kobe was looking for a cool $1 million a month.

But because of this scandal thing, Besiktas’ funds are entirely tied up. If the club is going to make a real play for Kobe, somebody else might have to step in, like a big sponsor. As the report noted, Kobe already has a deal with a Turkish airline.

Kobe recently spoke with Reuters about playing overseas and he sounded more than OK about it.

“One thing about basketball is that it is a global sport now,” Bryant said. “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.”

“Whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or here in China decides to call, I’ll be ready,” he added.

Kobe is a pretty major star in China and there have been rumors of him playing in exhibition games there. He’s already participated exhibitions in the Philippines. Kobe though is going through that experimental knee therapy — which seems to be working — and risking injury doesn’t sound like something the 32-year-old would be interested in.

And on top of that, European teams practice a lot, have difficult travel and don’t have the best medical staffs. Seems to me like Kobe’s rumored interest in actually signing for something more than a couple exhibition appearances is more smoke than fire.

He may have interest and I’m sure if something is talking about giving him a million a month, he’s going to listen. Every player is keeping overseas options open, because for one, it’s the right thing to say according to the NBPA. Is it really a realistic scenario that Kobe will be signing to play in Turkey? I don’t think so.

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