Tag:Deron Williams
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 11:52 pm

Kevin Durant in talks with Besiktas of Turkey

Posted by Ben Golliverkevin-durant-smile

Could the NBA's scoring champ be headed to Turkey?

On Tuesday night, HoopsHype.com translated a Turkish report that stated Aaron Goodwin, agent for Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, had recently met with officials from Besiktas, a basketball club in Turkey.

Shortly thereafter, ESPN.com reported that Goodwin confirmed the talks had taken place and said that he is looking for multiple places for Durant to play in the event the ongoing NBA lockout results in a work stoppage that compromises the 2011-2012 season.
Agent Aaron Goodwin told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that he has met with officials from Turkish club Besiktas and has likewise begun exploring opportunities for Durant in Spain and Russia. Goodwin added that playing in China is not something Durant is considering at this time.

"The Turkish option is very intriguing," Goodwin said. "We're looking at other countries as well. Kevin hasn't agreed to play anywhere yet, but we're looking for the best fit."

Besiktas, of course, is the Turkish club that employed former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson last season, inked New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams earlier this summer and has been lustily pursuing Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant for weeks.

Durant led the NBA in scoring for the second consecutive season in 2010-2011, dumping in 27.7 points per game and leading the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals. In his four seasons in the NBA, Durant has two All-Star appearances to his name and was selected as the 2007-2008 Rookie of the Year.

Remarkably, Durant is still just 22 years old. He's also missed just 12 games combined in his four NBA seasons and has no major surgeries in his past. In other words, he doesn't face nearly the same risk as an older player with a longer injury history like Bryant. 

On the financial front, Durant is locked into a mini-max contract that runs through the 2015-2016 season and does not have either a team or player option. The $82 million plus left on his deal -- including the $13.6 million that would be paid to him during the 2011-2012 season -- is guaranteed. 

The trump consideration here could be that Durant is in the elite class of NBA stars who are so obsessed with basketball that their brains might short-circuit if they are away from the game. He's spent the entire summer touring the country, hitting the most famous streetball courts and summer leagues looking for the best run. From the outside looking in, it appears clear that he wants to play. If that's the case, one would assume he would rather get paid to play than not get paid to play. Turkey, to date, has made it clear that their chip stack is tallest.

That doesn't mean that a deal between Besiktas and Durant will go down. But this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 9:44 am

Your annual Deron-Korver dodgeball video

By Matt Moore

Every year, Deron Williams and Kyle Korver host a celebrity dodge ball tournament. And every year, it's really funny. It's on the 27th of August this year, and they've released a video promo for it. So this is your annual Deron Williams, Kyle Korver dodgeball video. Don't hate the player, hate the game. 


It's kind of bizarre to note that Deron Williams' athleticism is more aptly displayed by dodgeball than basketball. Check out 00:34 through 00:37 in the clip. Kyle Korver's defense, however, is exactly mimicked on the dodgeball floor when he's ducking shots. 

Sorry, Kyle. Had to get that one in.  
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 27, 2011 8:37 pm

NBA lockout threatens 2012 USA Olympics team?

Posted by Ben Golliver


A dozen of America's top athletes leaping for joy after securing an Olympics gold medal while the foreign opponent huddles together with heasd bowed consoling themselves. You don't have to sport a tattoo of the American flag on your bicep to get a rise out of that scene.

Unfortunately, the NBA lockout hangs over all of basketball these days. And Yahoo! Sports reports that if the league cancels the entire 2011-2012 season it could jeopardize NBA player participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics. In other words, the scene pictured above from Beijing in 2008 might not be repeated in London.
In the doomsday scenario, where labor strife causes the cancellation of the 2011-12 NBA season, and the work stoppage drags into June and then July, there’s little, if no chance, the great American players could play in the Olympics. Team USA is too tied to the NBA – too much of a David Stern production – for the players to break ranks and play. In the post 9-11 world, that’s a tricky subject PR-wise for the players, but several union, USA Basketball and agent sources believe this worst-case labor scenario would cost Team USA its NBA stars.

As the managing director of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo answers to Stern, and the league – along with its ATM machine, Nike – has immense impact on the coaching staff and roster. How could the NBA allow its coaches – Team USA assistants Nate McMillan and Mike D’Antoni – to coach NBA players during a lockout? Still, that’s the worst-case scenario, but it’s one that USA Basketball will have to consider should the labor dispute push deep into the NBA season. In this instance, Team USA would have to field a team of American players who’ve built careers overseas, as well as D-League players, and perhaps a superior college superstar or two.

That would obviously put the USA at a serious disadvantage, especially because foreign-born NBA players would almost certainly compete in the Olympics, lockout or not. Teams like Spain, France and Argentina, to name three, could put more raw talent on the court than a mish-mashed USA roster. For perhaps the first time ever, USA would be an unquestioned underdog entering the tournament. That would be a terrible nightmare.

Let's just not think about it. Assuming the lockout is resolved and NBA players are willing and able to compete for their country, here are the 12 names and seven potential alternates for the the roster.
The USA has tended to play versatile, small ball line-ups in recent international competitions. It's unlikely they would add multiple new big men unless one of the 2008 team members decided not to come back. When in doubt, the mantra seems to be, add shooting, which could favor younger guards like Curry and Gordon, who both played on the 2010 World Championships team.
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 21, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:29 pm

2011 NBA All-Star likeability rankings

Posted by Ben Golliver.


It's one thing to be great on the court. It's one thing to be famous. It's one thing to be marketable. It's one thing to be respected. 

But how do we throw all those attributes together? How do we determine which of the NBA's brightest stars are the most well-rounded? How do we put our finger on which stars capture the imagination, drop jaws and tug on the heart strings? 

It's an impossible task, but that didn't stop the Eye On Basketball staff from trying. Over the last week, we pinpointed five characteristics that combine to make NBA players likeable: "Ballin' Ability" (how good a guy is as a player), "Winning Attitude" (how dedicated he is to the game), "Talking Softly" (how he comes across in public comments), "Commerical Appeal" (how visible he is in advertisements) and "Public Works" (charitable contributions and other character-defining achievements).

Our panel of four experts ranked every member of the 2011 All-Star teams on a 1-5 scale in each of these five categories. We then added up all the scores to get a ranking on a 1 to 100 scale. The higher the number, the more likeable the player. Pretty simple stuff. 

Without further ado, here are the CBSSports.com 2011 NBA All-Star likeability rankings, from worst (least likeable) to first (most likeable). 

24. Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks: Johnson’s unassuming personality and solid perimeter game don’t stand much of a chance here due to his relatively invisible national profile and his team’s lack of playoff success. Score: 44

23. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks: Horford suffers from the same low-profile problem as Johnson but is perceived as more of a winner because he took home NCAA hardware at the University of Florida, and his game is predicated on doing whatever it takes to get the job done rather than jacking jumpers. Score: 48

22. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: Bosh is intelligent, articulate and gentle off the court and a versatile talent on the court, so he should be prettychris-bosh-tears likeable, at least in theory. His goofiness -- the photo shoots, the secret wedding, the screaming at the preseason parade -- has become off-putting now that he’s teamed up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. His status as the league’s most obvious punch line hurts him here. A lot. Score: 54

T-20. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: Still just a half-touch too far up the “might be crazy” scale to be totally likeable at this point in his career. Westbrook is still stuck in Kevin Durant’s shadow, although he showed with his fearless play in the 2011 postseason that he might one day eclipse KD in terms of sheer star power. Could be a fast riser in future renditions of these rankings, especially if he can cut down his turnovers and shake a developing reputation as a bit of a late-game ball hog. Saying something interesting after a game once in a while wouldn't hurt either. Score: 55

T-20. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers: Much like the Lakers, Gasol took a step back in prominence this season when he didn’t show up as expected -- and as needed -- in the postseason. His gangly frame isn’t particularly marketable, at least not here in the United States, and while he is a true professional when it comes to the media, he’s known first and foremost as Kobe Bryant’s on-again, off-again punching bag. Score: 55

19. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: More than anyone else on this list, Rondo genuinely doesn’t care what you think about him. He can come across as curt and moody, and doesn’t expend much energy playing the media game. His authenticity can’t be questioned, but it does keep casual fans at arm’s length. Score: 58

18. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: An egoless star on an egoless team in an egoless organization in a relatively small market, Ginobili has never sought the bright lights. Even after all these years, the average fan doesn’t have much of a connection with him. There’s nothing not to like, but nothing that reaches out and grabs you either. Score: 59

17. Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets: Williams gets bonus points for his amazing annual dodgeball tournament and rose to a new level of renown this year thanks to a blockbuster trade and a trailblazing deal with Besiktas in Turkey. The rumored spats with Jerry Sloan that surfaced when the legendary Utah Jazz coach abruptly retired briefly painted a very unlikable picture, although that didn’t seem to bother him too much. Score: 61

16. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics: Beloved in Boston, Pierce’s personal likeability suffers a bit nationally because he’s almost always talked about as one of Boston’s Big Three, with Kevin Garnett usually getting top billing. He's a bit past his prime, which surely costs him some spots on this list. Score: 62

15. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics: Allen is pretty much in the same boat as Pierce, although he’s got an energetic mother (the ever-present Flo), a picture-perfect jump shot and an unforgettable silver screen performance (Jesus Shuttlesworth) to give him a bit of a boost. Score: 64

14. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Love is the anti-Rondo, fully embracing the media attention, putting his self-kevin-love-smiledeprecating humor to full display whenever possible. He’s blogged, starred in viral videos and, let’s not forget, put up mammoth statistics through sheer hard work amidst a dysfunctional mess of a team. All while remaining sane. No easy task. Score: 65

T-12. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: Thanks to his on-court bullying antics and incessant trash talk, Garnett is as polarizing as anyone in the league, save LeBron James. But his reputation as a winner was sealed by Boston’s title, he’s been a fixture on the national endorsement circuit for years and his overwhelming competitive desire helps cover up some of the ugliness. Score: 66

 T-12. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks: Near the top of his game and playing in a major media market, Stoudemire keeps the dunks and quotes coming, so everyone stays happy. The fact that he abandoned Steve Nash immediately following a Western Conference Finals playoff run to take more money without catching any flak for it is a testament to how he’s carved out a major place in the nation’s heart in his own, quirky way. Score: 66

11. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks: Anthony’s steady focus during a half-season-long free agency and trade whirlwind last year won him a lot of goodwill, as does the fact that he’s put millions of dollars into both Syracuse University and Baltimore. Based on talent alone, Anthony should probably be higher on this list, but wife LaLa and his lack of playoff success hold him back. Score: 68

10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: Griffin is still enjoying the “new-car smell” phase of his NBA fame. His audacious take-offs, explosive leaping and vicious finishing are so unique for a player his size that nobody much cares that he didn’t make the playoffs and still has a ways to go to fill out an all-around game. The centerpiece of All-Star Weekend in his very first visit, he’s got endorsements by the boatload and is arguably on the verge of over-exposure. He’s still a little stiff, but that seems to be fading. Once he gets a few playoff series wins under his belt, look for Griffin to be a perennial top-5 member on this list. Score: 71

9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs: Duncan has been so good for so long -- and won so much -- that the respect factor afforded him is significant enough to make up for a bland, sometimes robotic, personality. Duncan can be subtly hilarious and occasionally sharp-tongued with the media. He is also unfailingly classy. Score: 72

8. LeBron James, Miami Heat: He should be No. 1 on every NBA list ever made given his otherworldly talent and global-marketinglebron-james-face-machine status, but James drops hard in terms of likeability due to his late-game failures in the 2011 NBA Finals, his out-of-touch comments towards fans following the Heat's eventual loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the self-unaware “Decision” and his overall child-star cockiness/obliviousness. Even given all of that, no one would be surprised if winning a title vaulted him to the top of this list next year. His talent is that absurd. Score: 74

7. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: You might have heard: Rose is humble. The 2011 MVP has so much going for him: He’s won at an early age, he’s winning for his hometown team, he’s lived up to expectations, he’s taken responsibility for losses and shared credit for victories, he’s managed to be a scoring point guard without getting written off as “selfish,” and he kept a safe distance from all the free agency politicking that soured a lot of fans on many top-name players last summer. He continues to battle his “shy” public nature, which is the only thing holding him back from much, much greater fame. Score: 79

6. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets: Paul checks off virtually every box on the likeability list. He’s cutthroat on the court and cuddly off of it. He’s raised loads of money for Hurricane Katrina relief. He’s a devout man without being preachy. He comes across as a caring father and thoughtful citizen. He’s -- so far -- steered clear of hijacking his franchise by demanding a trade or threatening to walk in free agency. The touching story of his love for his deceased grandfather has become an indelible part of his identity. And he is team-first, always. There’s so much to like that you actually hope he finds a better situation, where he will be able to fill out his playoff reputation. Score: 81

5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: This is the top of the mountain for Nowitzki, both on and off the court. It simply doesn’t get any better than captaining a balanced team through a marathon playoff run that ended with the demolition of the league’s most hated team. The cherry on top is the fact that Nowitzki came through in the clutch time and again. He’s put an ugly past relationship totally behind him, moving forward with a new fiancé. His personality with the media is easy-going and honest. He plays with a childish love of the game and hits shots that make you marvel. It’s hard to imagine another seven-foot German man gaining this level of acceptance and respect in the United States. Ever. Also, he’s squashed the “soft” label that haunted him for years. Score: 84

4. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: Howard has deftly positioned himself as the heir apparent to Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most likeable NBA stars in recent memory. His dominant two-way play serves as the basis for a superhero persona, and his active online presence and numerous endorsement deals make his zany personality inescapable. The fact that he hasn’t committed to the Magic and could be headed for a free agency bonanza could cost him points down the road, but right now he’s still the giant, lovable teddy bear who can swat shots back to half court. Score: 85

T-2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat: It was a shocking scene when Wade joined James in mocking Nowitzki during the Finals for being sick: A very flat note for someone who has historically been pitch perfect. Throughout his career, Wade has been a Teflon Don, particularly charmed as a player and as an endorser. With a title under his belt and a megawatt smile, Wade has displayed a good sense of humor for years as a pitchman and also been a staple on NBA Cares commercials. Both James and Bosh lost points last summer for their decision to team up in Miami, but Wade came off as a big winner, the cool older-brother figure who pulled off the recruiting haul of a lifetime. Score: 87


T-2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Colorado sure feels like a long, long time ago, doesn’t it? Bryant has made the most of the second half of his NBA career, winning rings by the fistful and growing his international popularity immensely. He’s played through pain, done things his way, taken a direct, often profane, tone with the media and become the closest thing to Jordan since Jordan. Age is slowly advancing, which has a way of humanizing people, and yet his ego and force of will push back equally hard, making it seem, at least for now, that his reign on top will last as long as he chooses. Right now, he’s the NBA’s most mythical figure. Score: 87

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s virtually impossible to find fault with the NBA’s scoring champ. Durant combines Rose’s humble nature, Nowitzki’s impossible scoring touch, Griffin’s “new-car smell,” Howard’s technological accessibility and a Bryant-esque work ethic. He’s polite, he’s shown he has what it takes to win in the playoffs at a young age, he’s popular on an international stage already and the best is yet to come. He’s confident, but not cocky. He’s a gunner, but he comes off as unselfish. He’s team-first and loyal, much like Paul, and he’s locked in long-term so there’s no doubt or question about his future motives (at least not yet). Put it all together, and Durant is enjoying the ultimate honeymoon period with the NBA fans. We love potential, and Durant still has plenty of that. Also, he wears a backpack. Score: 88

Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:40 pm

Besiktas' pursuit of Bryant held up by scandal

Posted by 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.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 2:22 pm

Deron Williams' new team has its accounts frozen

Posted by Royce Young

Officially, Deron Williams has signed with Besiktas. You know how I know? He tweeted it. I think that's sort of how things get made "official" in these days.

But there could be some early complications. According to Draft Express, Williams' new team Besiktas has had its accounts frozen because of a connection in some soccer-match fixing scandal. Via Reuters:

A Turkish court jailed the coach and deputy chairman of Istanbul club Besiktas pending trial on Wednesday in a match-fixing investigation which has overshadowed preparations for the new soccer season, media reports said.

The Istanbul court has already jailed 26 people including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, who feature highly in the probe, and the latest ruling targeted a second of the city’s “Big Three” clubs which dominate Turkish football.

Though he's signed to play there, Williams does have an opt-out clause, and some believe it's a stretch he'll ever actually play a game in Turkey. This little situation, however, adds a whole new angle to that. If Besiktas can't pay him, no way Williams goes abroad.

And it's a potential red flag to other players who are thinking about making the transition. Josh Childress already talked about all the headaches and hassles that come with playing overseas, and this is an example. Things just don't run as smoothly.

The basketball team hasn't had any kind of charges brought against it and isn't connected to this scandal, but the money all comes from the same place. And the money is obviously what's most important.

If Williams isn't going to get his pay, no way he's going to play.
Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com