Kobe Bryant is not going to Turkey. But other suitors still are seeking him out.
Kobe and his agent Rob Pelinka met with representatives of Besiktas last week and the talks have broken off because the two sides could not reach a financial deal, reports Sportando.net.
According to Obrad Fimic of Alti Sport who was negotiating with Besiktas on behalf of Kobe Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka, the proposal of the Turkish team for the Lakers star is still too low. Kobe and his entourage decided not to accept it and give up on the negotiations with Besiktas, team who already signed Deron Williams. The two parts tried to reach an agreement but the money offered by the club from Istanbul were not up to the amount expected by Bryant. According to rumors close to the player, there is another European, Euroleague team on Kobe but the name of the club is still unknown.
While I have not scouted the Turkish league, my guess is that a D-Will and Kobe backcourt would have done pretty well. Too bad for Besiktas that didn’t work out.
I’ve said all along that it was unlikely Kobe would play anywhere overseas — few teams could meet his financial requirements and he would be putting more wear and tear on knees that he wants to carry him to at least one more ring. While there is no doubt some other interested European teams out there, that is just not likely to happen.
That said, if the lockout drags on into November, don’t be shocked to see Kobe consider playing in China. There are teams there with some big money sponsors and he is already a big brand there. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
Officials from the Turkish team Besiktas finally did meet with Kobe Bryant’s agent Thursday, but Bryant himself wasn’t there. The two sides are supposed to meet again Friday.
That’s the word via twitter from Turkish journalist Ismail Senol (the Turkish side of these talks continues to be the leaky one).
According to club sources, Besiktas-Pelinka meeting was positive. Kobe wasn’t there. Club made an official offer. Today they’ll meet again.
What does that mean? Nothing really. If you want to say it’s not serious yet you point out Kobe wasn’t in the room. If you want to say it is serious you point out they are meeting again and an offer is now on the table. Besiktas was serious enough to sign Deron Williams for next season and Allen Iverson last season.
I don’t think he’s going. First, he doesn’t seem that into it. An exhibition/barnstorming tour in China, maybe, but a season with another team, no. That could get in the way of ring No. 6, a season would wear him down.
Senol suggests in later tweets that Kobe could make more money in Turkey than China because the season is a couple months longer, but this move would not be about the salary. What Kobe gets paid anywhere overseas is a sliver of the $25 million he would make in the NBA next year. Kobe already has set his family for generations. It’s not about the money. It’s about legacy and global branding. And I’m not sure a sixth-place team in Turkey — one not in the EuroLeague — really contributes much to either of those.
He’s not going.
But when Kobe Bryant said the other day he had not talked to Beşiktaş officials in weeks, with his next breath he said he’d listen to offers — “I’m just waiting for my phone to ring.”
Now Beşiktaş is calling and the two sides will meet Thursday, according to multiple reports out of Turkey. The Turkish side of these talks has always been the leaky one and the one trying to milk the publicity, but it looks like the two sides will talk. Team President Yıldırım Demirören is flying to Los Angeles for the meeting.
I’m glad, because maybe when they finally do meet this sillyness can stop.
Deron Williams has already signed with Beşiktaş, and if Kobe were to sign overseas it would be some legitimate pressure on the owners — or at least the Buss family — to hurry the labor talks along. But it’s not going to happen. If you think Kobe — a man obsessed with winning and getting more rings for his collection, a man who wants to pass Jordan on the all time scoring list — is going to risk all that, risk serious injury and put more mileage on his body to play in Turkey for a team that’s not even in the EuroLeague, well then I have some land I want to sell you.
But the two sides will talk. Apparently Thursday in Los Angeles with Kobe’s agent Rob Pelinka in attendance. Good, talk and let’s put these rumors to bed.