Kobe In Talks With Turkish Club Besiktas
ANKARA, Turkey (AP)—Turkish club Besiktas is in talks with Kobe Bryant’s representatives about the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers’ star playing in Turkey during the NBA lockout.
“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us,” coach Ergin Ataman said Thursday, a week after Besiktas signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.
Ataman said Bryant was waiting for an offer from Besiktas. The club, however, said it would need a sponsor to be able to pay for Bryant’s contract.
“Our board will evaluate that,” Ataman said.
Bryant, who has won five NBA titles with the Lakers and is a 13-time NBA All Star, has been on a tour of China, including a stop in Shanghai on Wednesday. He said he would consider playing overseas during the lockout and mentioned China and Turkey as possibilities.
Representatives other NBA players also have contacted Besiktas, Ataman said, without identifying any of them.
The Turkish League season starts in October.
Besiktas signed Allen Iverson, the NBA’s MVP in 2001, last year but his time in Turkey was cut short due to injury.
Another NBA player, New Jersey guard Sasha Vujacic, signed last week with Turkish club Anadolu Efes. The 27-year old Slovenian guard agreed to a one-year deal with an optional second year.
Nets draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic also signed with Fenerbahce of the Turkish League in June.
Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard, a five-time All-Star, has said he would consider playing in China or Europe if the NBA lockout doesn’t end.
Talks between the NBA and the union broke down June 30, and the owners decided to impose the league’s first lockout since the 1998-99 season was shortened to 50 games. Both sides say there are significant differences between their proposals, raising the possibility that all or part of next season could be canceled.