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.
So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.
But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.
But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.
When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.
Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.
Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.
Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.
Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.
New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.
I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.
But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.