We’d already told you that Kobe Bryant’s people would be meeting on July 30 (Saturday) with officials from the Turkish club Besiktas, but it turns out Kobe himself will be in on the talks, according to Reuters (via ESPNLA).
As we mentioned in previous stories, every time Kobe’s people speak things are cautious, every time someone from Besiktas speaks, they are wildly optimistic.
For example, Seref Yalcin, head of basketball operations for Besiktas, said there was a 50/50 chance they could sign Kobe. Despite the fact Besiktas has had assets frozen due to a soccer match-fixing scandal, they say money to pay Kobe would not be a problem because sponsors such as Turkish Airlines would step up to cover the costs for the club. Except, that’s far from written in stone.
“We know that Besiktas is very much interested [in Bryant] and they’ve been in touch with our company as well, but we haven’t started any kind of negotiations or anything like that yet,” Fatma Yuceler, a spokeswoman for Turkish Airlines, told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday.
Either way, the NBA players union likes all this talk — Besiktas already signed Deron Williams and the union wants stars to sign overseas because it shows that the players have other options to make money. Sure, less money and only a fraction of the players, but there are options for some.
Kobe is currently in Washington D.C. for a charity soccer event.
Whether Kobe would put more mileage on his knees for a team in the Turkish league — one that did not qualify for EuroLeague — and a fraction of his NBA salary remains a serious question. Frankly, we’d be shocked. But he is at least going to sit down with them and hear their pitch.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.