Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:20 pm

Kobe Bryant has $1.5 million/month China offers?

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-china

During the ongoing NBA lockout, the grass appears to be greener on the other side of the Great Wall of China.

Aside from Turkey, which put its money where its mouth is to land New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, China has generated the most buzz in potentially landing NBA All-Star caliber players should the lockout result in a work stoppage. The only potential hold up would be if the Chinese Basketball Association followed through on a reported desire to institute a ban on signing players to contracts that include opt-outs that would allow them to return to the NBA if the labor negotiations are resolved.

That brings us to Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant who, with Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James reportedly not interested in playing overseas, is far and away the most coveted and marketable star on the international market.

After Bryant reportedly walked away from the possibility of joining forces with Williams for Besiktas in Turkey because their offer wasn't sufficient, Yahoo! Sports now reports he is weighing potential offers from China that would pay him more than seven figures per month.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has offers north of $1.5 million a month to play in China, and sources say he’d be inclined to accept a contract except for the one immense hurdle standing in his way: Chinese Basketball Association officials will likely pass a rule in the middle of this week forbidding the signing of players with NBA opt-out clauses.

Bryant’s stature and popularity make him unique, and teams have shown a willingness to meet his demands to play in China. Nike is motivated to get him on the floor, too. Bryant pushes product in the Far East, perhaps unlike any of his peers. Bryant believes he can be patient, wait for these Chinese and European markets to unfold, and make a decision about playing overseas on his own timetable.
Bureaucracy in China has swallowed much bigger fish than Bryant but the prospect of NBA players in the flesh would be such a tantalizing proposition for the country as a whole -- not to mention its economy -- that some sort of compromise could be worked out.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 3:34 pm

Kevin Durant: Overseas decision coming Oct. 1

Posted by Ben Golliverkevin-durant

Last week, we noted that Aaron Goodwin, agent for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, confirmed that he was in talks with Turkish club Besiktas about possibly finding the NBA's reigning scoring champ a home if the ongoing NBA lockout leads to a work stoppage.

Because of his long-term guaranteed salary, lack of injury history and obsessive love for the game, we called the Durant-to-Besiktas a rumor worth keeping an eye on.

On Sunday, the Washington Post reports that Durant confirms that he is in talks with Besiktas through his agent but states that he is in no hurry to make a decision regarding next season, preferring instead to set a deadline more than six weeks away.
Durant said that after speaking with Stephen Jackson and a few other players last week, he has decided to set a deadline of Oct. 1. “Once we really know the season is not going to start at regular time, that’s when you make the decision,” he said. “I guess when October hits, it’s really going to get real for me. I don’t want to do it too early and be locked into something, knowing we’re going to play. I’m going to keep my options open.” 

When asked if Turkey was his first option, Durant said, “My agent is talking with those guys, but I really don’t know too much about what’s going on. He’s going to call the next few days, keep me in [the loop]. Right now, I’m just trying to get better hooping and we’ll see what happens.”
Given that Besiktas reportedly opens its season in the last week of September, the logic behind this wait-and-see approach doesn't quite add up.

To get top dollar overseas, a player must be of full value to his new team, showing up for camp ready to play through the end of the lockout, when FIBA will mandate he must return to his NBA team. Nonchalantly showing up after the regular season has started or dropping in and out on a whim isn't likely to produce a sizeable offer, except perhaps for a player of Kobe Bryant's or LeBron James' stature. 

Push is coming to shove pretty quickly when it comes to the international route for NBA players. Shortly, putting off the decision any further will dramatically decrease the likelihood of finding a home during the lockout.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:31 pm

Report: Kobe breaks off talks with Besiktas

Posted by Royce Young

For the 15th time, it looks like Kobe's great Turkish adventure isn't happening.

Sportando.net reports that Kobe's agent, Rob Pelinka, has declined every offer from Besiktas and that both sides have come to the conclusion they won't be able to agree on a contract.

Pelinka recently met with Besiktas over Kobe's future with the team and while reports had the discussions as "positive," it doesn't look like the sides could come to a conclusion. Basically, it sounds like Besiktas just couldn't come up with enough money to satisfy the Bryant camp. Reports had their offer initially in the $500,000 per month range.

Besiktas of course already signed Nets guard Deron Williams for a reported $250,000 a month.

If Kobe is off the table, Besiktas will likely refocus all efforts on to Kevin Durant, who is reportedly in early talks with the Turkish club. Durant had recently said he was "50-50" about going overseas.

Kobe, if he's looking for an overseas contract, could look at another Euroleague team but might consider his Chinese options as well. The China stuff is hazy though because of the league possibly passing a rule that won't allow NBA players under contract to sign and then leave to return for the NBA.

Something tells me though that this isn't the last of Kobe and Besiktas's dance. We can hope though.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 5:22 pm

Report: Kobe Bryant to meet Besiktas on Thursday

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant

Turkish club Besiktas will not relent on its tumultuous courtship of Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant.

Turkish media outlet NTV SPOR reports that the club's prsident Yildirim Demiroren is scheduled to meet with Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, on Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles. NTV Sport is the same outlet that broke Besiktas' agreement with New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams earlier this summer.

The report comes days after a source told both NBA.com and Yahoo! Sports that there was a "zero percent" chance that Bryant would play for Besiktas, which has been publicly pursuing him for weeks. 

So what's with all the give and take, back and forth, stories changing by the minute? Most likely, this is simply a story of a millionaire athlete playing hard to get, forcing an eager suitor to negotiate against itself for his services.

Despite more than $80 million in guaranteed future salary, his age and his recent injury history, Bryant has made it clear that he wants to stay busy if the ongoing NBA lockout leads to a work stoppage.

"I'm just waiting for my phone to ring," Bryant said last Sunday, according to ESPN.com. "I will play anywhere."
Posted on: July 31, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 4:58 pm

Kobe Bryant to Besiktas has 'zero percent' chance

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-deron-williams

Could all this Kobe Bryant to Turkey talk turn out to be just talk?

Both NBA.com and Yahoo! Sports reported on Sunday that there is a "zero percent" chance Bryant plays for Besiktas -- the Turkish professional team that agreed to sign New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams and has been actively pursuing Bryant for weeks -- during a work stoppage caused by the ongoing NBA lockout.

Here's NBA.com's report on Twitter.
Source: Kobe Bryant has not spoken with Turkish team in 2 wks. Current chance he plays there in fall: "zero percent." Source does indicate Bryant would consider overseas options if lockout continues.
Here's Yahoo!'s virtually identical report on Twitter.
Source says Lakers' Kobe Bryant hasnt talked to Turkey Besiktas in 2 weeks & currently there is a 0% chance he goes there... Source added Kobe is considering other overseas options is lockout doesn't end.
The dual reports come just one day after Bryant was reportedly scheduled to meet with Besiktas officials.

As we've noted before, Bryant's age, injury history and the $83 million set to be paid to him by the Lakers over the course of the next three seasons work against him playing professionally in a competitive league during the lockout.
Pursuing Bryant was a high-reward and no-risk situation for Besiktas. Tying their club name to a player of Bryant's stature only increases the club's profile. Besiktas doesn't need to worry about catching backlash over a failed effort because it already has Williams waiting in the wings. Landing Bryant would have been incredible -- a globe-stopping move, at least in the basketball world -- but life will go on for the club.

As will, surely, negotiations between Bryant's representatives and the other clubs and interests looking to get in on the action. Whatever that action might be.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:38 pm

Kobe Bryant to meet Besiktas of Turkey this week?

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-deron-williams

Less than three weeks after agreeing to terms with New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Besiktas of Turkey is reportedly set to meet with Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant this weekend.

In an Asksam.com.tr report translated by SlamOnline.com, Besiktas official Seref Yalcin expressed optimism that a deal with Bryant could be reached. 
Yalcin says: “At the moment there’s a 50 [percent] chance that Kobe may come to Turkey. Everything will be clearer after the meeting on the 30th. We have not talked about money, as reported. We only talked about the possibility of Kobe playing in Turkey. We asked FIBA for approval and Kobe wants some time to think about it. We believe that his reponse is going to be positive. Money will not be a problem. Turkish Airlines, M-Oil and Milan Petrol will sponsor the deal.” 
With all due respect, money is always a problem.

It's especially problematic in Bryant's case given his age, injury history and the $83 million set to be paid to him by the Lakers over the course of the next three seasons. 

But everyone, including Bryant, has a price. Unfortunately for Besiktas, that price is likely to be very, very steep. He reportedly made $400,000 for playing in a weekend's worth of exhibition games in the Philippines. While that's a pretty insane figure that he's not likely to see too many more times during the lockout, it would certainly influence his asking price to suit up for a team in league play, right? In the exhibitions, the only expectation is to show up, sign autographs, pose for pictures and throw down a dunk or two. In league play, things would be a bit more serious.

Pursuing Bryant aggressively is a no-lose proposition for Besiktas. Worst case scenario: they enjoy a month or two of free press after they are unable to make the trip to Turkey worth Bryant's while. Best case scenario: they come up with huge wads of cash, Bryant can't resist scratching his competitive itch and it's the biggest thing to hit Turkey since [obscure historical reference].

With Williams already in the bag, the club has nothing to lose and the world's most popular basketball star to gain. 

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk.com
Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:00 pm

Kobe, Turkish club Besiktas, to meet in August

By Matt Moore

Whether you think it's nothing but a bunch of lying liars lying or not, the talk about NBA players heading oveseas to play won't be stopping any time soon. And lest you think that a match-fixing scandal that has frozen the assets of the Turkish team that recently signed Deron Williams would stop them in their pursuit of Kobe Bryant, think again. In fact, their coach says talks have already begun. From the Los Angeles Times:
Ataman said the team is trying to satisfy Bryant's salary demands so that he can join New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams on the team. Williams signed with Besiktas about a week ago.

"We made our offer to Kobe and now we are waiting for their comments about the situation," Ataman said. "But we didnt talk about details. I think they are thinking now about our offer, and I think in the beginning of August, the first week of August, our president [Yildirim Demiroren] will be in the United States for Deron Williams' press conference and I think that they will meet to sign in USA with Kobe."
via Kobe Bryant: Kobe Bryant reportedly in talks with Turkish club - latimes.com

More specifically, Ataman states that they have been in contact with a sponsor to help cover Bryant's salary. That was a major hangup in a Thursday afternoon report. Bryant has a sponsorship with Turkish Airlines, but they have not been discussed as a possible sponsor for a Besiktas contract. 

It's surprising that Besiktas continues to pursue Bryant despite the match-fixing issue and the fact that Bryant has yet to publicly speak on the supposed talks, even through a representative. Until he does, people will still be incredibly suspicious about the idea of Bryant spending next fall in Istanbul. 

Laker fans have to be nervous about a potential Turkish escapade for the five-time champion. Bryant's finally had a long offseason to recover from his myriad injuries he's played through over the past couple of seasons. Playing abroad only puts more miles on tires that have seen better days. 

Posted on: July 7, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:06 pm

Report: Besiktas of Turkey wants Kobe Bryant too

Turkish club Besiktas says it wants to sign Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the NBA lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-deron

On Thursday morning, we noted reports that New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams could be headed to play for Besiktas of Turkey if the NBA lockout continues into the fall. Besiktas is the same team that signed Allen Iverson last season.

In a Thursday afternoon interview with the New York Times, Ergin Ataman, coach of Besiktas, confirmed that the team had reached an agreement with Williams and also said his club had its eye on an even higher-profile target: Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant.
“If there’s a possibility, we’ll talk with Kobe if he’d like to play in Europe with Deron and with other guys to play we can talk with him,” Ataman said. “If Kobe would like to play with us, we will also contact his agent and maybe with him.”
Williams playing overseas is surprising. Bryant, who has $80+ million coming to him in salary over the next three seasons, playing overseas would be a shocker.

Kobe is reportedly open to the idea though.

Unlike Williams, Bryant has his age and the deteriorating condition of his knee, which recently required PRP therapy, to consider. At 32, he has a decade's worth of deep playoff runs already on his tires, and imagining Bryant playing competitively overseas is a giant red flag.

His legacy and status as one of the NBA's All-Time greats is still very much up in the air. If he is able to win another title -- or two -- he leapfrogs an entire class of stars to the very upper echelons of the discussion. If he is able to pass Michael Jordan on the NBA's All-Time scoring list, that's another important accomplishment.

Is there any amount of money that would make risking those accomplishments by playing overseas worth it?  

Earlier reports indicate that Bryant could barnstorm through China, which makes a lot of sense. By hitting the globe's biggest market for some exhibition games, Bryant could achieve the biggest possible financial return with the minimum amount of effort expended.

These comments read a bit like a publicity stunt. Then again, with Williams apparently deciding to take the Turkish plunge, we can't be too quick to write off anything.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com