Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kobe Bryant

As the NBA lockout enters its fourth week on Friday and with no end in sight, theKobe Bryant-to-Turkey rumors continue to heat up.
But Bryant's asking price - reportedly $1 million per month - could be a deal-breaker for Besiktas, the same team that has a one-year contract in place with the Nets' Deron Williams in the event that the lockout extends into the NBA regular season.
Ergin Ataman, the Besiktas' coach, said that Bryant's reps have contacted the team, but that the club would need a sponsor to pay for Bryant's contract.
"Our board will evaluate that," Ataman told the Associated Press.
Currently touring China, Bryant said he would consider playing in China or Turkey if the lockout is still in place when the season starts on Nov. 1.
Bryant's deal with the Lakers calls for him to average nearly $28 million per season over the next three seasons, so he's going to command top dollar overseas. Williams' contract with the Turkish team is said to be for $350,000 per month.
If the lockout causes games to be cancelled and Bryant makes his way to Turkey, he would be the biggest NBA superstar to head overseas. Along with Williams, Orlando'sDwight Howard has also said that he also would interested in going overseas to play during an extended lockout.
But before anyone thinks they're definitely going to see NBA stars playing overseas, there are significant legal hurdles to overcome. Players must first gain approval from FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, which has close ties to the NBA. FIBA has the authority to reject the deals.
Bryant could also just be lending his name to the union effort to put some pressure on owners to make a deal. The Lakers' superstar turns 33 next month and is coming off surgery in May to help treat an arthritic joint in his right knee. Although all European teams would love to have his services, he stands to make more money in China, where he enjoys the greatest popularity of any NBA player now that Yao Ming has retired.
Since owners imposed the lockout on July 1, owners and players have not had a fullscale negotiating session, with the union saying that the two sides are $7 billion apart on a long-term deal.
On Friday, staff members of the two sides will meet for the first time since June 30 in what is not considered a bargaining session since commissioner David Stern and the head of the Players Association, Billy Hunter, are not scheduled to attend.