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.
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of cash, Bryant can't resist scratching his competitive itch and it's the biggest thing to hit Turkey since [obscure historical reference].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.
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