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.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.