Kobe Bryant reportedly in serious talks with Turkish club
There's been plenty of back-and-forth on whether Kobe Bryant would actually join forces with Deron Williams on the Turkish club team Besiktas.
But here's the latest: Coach Ergin Ataman told reporters in Turkey that "it is a fact that Kobe Bryant's managers have contacted us" and that he was waiting for an offer from the team. Before they would sign Bryant, however, Ataman said the team would need to secure a sponsor.
What does this actually mean? It's hard to say, because the possibility of Bryant joining that team has taken a few turns ever since it became official that Williams had signed on.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Bryant is open to offers playing overseas. Some examples: Bryant and Lakers guard Derek Fisher, among others, will appear in a pair of exhibition games this weekend in the Philippines. The Times' Baxter Holmes also reported that Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports Agency, might organize an effort in which some of his clients go on a barnstorming tour in China. But the possibility of playing with Besiktas is more uncertain. Only two days ago, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that the team's pursuit of Bryant was put on hold because the team's basketball funds were tied up with a match-fixing scandal linked to the Turkish national soccer team. Other reports indicated Bryant wanted $1 million a month, though Besiktas was only prepared to offer a $500,000 monthly salary.
Bryant, who has a $83.5-million contract with the Lakers through the 2013-14 season, planned on keeping an active summer despite the numerous injuries that ail him. He underwent plasma therapy to treat his surgically repaired right knee sometime in May in Germany, a controversial procedure that involves drawing a small amount of blood from the patient's arm, spinning it in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes to isolate platelets and then using ultrasound to inject the platelets into the injured area to try to stimulate tissue repair. He indicated in his exit interview that he plans to find other ways to strengthen his leg. And he's currently touring Asia as part of his efforts in promoting his Nike brand.
But whether he'd actually play competitive basketball overseas? It's too early to say, considering the financial and injury considerations. For whatever it's worth, Besiktas claims to be at least talking with Bryant.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, steals the ball from Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant during a 2010 playoff game. If the lockout ends in time, the Lakers will open the 2011-12 season at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2010.