Besiktas coach confirms talks with Kobe, but don’t expect a deal

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Ergin Ataman, the coach of the Turkish team Besiktas (which recently signed Deron Williams) knows marketing.

Which means he knows Kobe Bryant is the most popular NBA player internationally, so if you want to generate some heat, talk about him. Reality of the situation be damned. Which is what he did when D-Will was signed, and what he did again today.

Ataman confirmed the club has had talks with Kobe, something we told you about last weekend.

“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us,” coach Ergin Ataman said Thursday, a week after Besiktas signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.

Ataman said Bryant was waiting for an offer from Besiktas. The club, however, said it would need a sponsor to be able to pay for Bryant’s contract.

Besiktas has a few other little issues to sort out besides finding a sponsor for Kobe. Okay, maybe not so little. For one, how much he would be paid — reports are Besiktas wanted to pay him $450,000 a month but Kobe wanted $1 million (which would still be a steep cut from his NBA salary). So Besiktas is looking for a sponsor. The team also lost its main sponsor, a Turkish cola company, and is reportedly trying to find a replacement.

Which will be hard to find as Besiktas had its assets frozen due to a match-fixing scandal on the soccer side. While this serious soccer situation does not directly tie to the basketball side, it’s not exactly making major sponsors jump on board with the organization.

Besiktas already has had a reputation as not paying its players, with some missing practices last season when paychecks were late. Not Allen Iverson’s (he played for Besiktas last year), his checks were fine. Just don’t ask the other players on the team about theirs.

But sure, go ahead and think Kobe is about to sign there if you want. It’s good marketing by Ataman.

Patty Mills hits game-winner in Spurs’ NBA-record fourth straight OT game (video)

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.

But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.

Popovich, via ESPN:

“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.

And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.

 

Report: Luka Doncic might return to Mavericks within a couple weeks

Luka Doncic
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Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.

Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.

Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.

But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.

Bucks’ Eric Bledsoe out two weeks due to right fibula avulsion fracture

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The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.

An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.

Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.

George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.

The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.

Hornets’ rookie P.J. Washington out weeks with fractured little finger

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In what has been a disappointing rookie class so far, Charlotte appears to have a steal drafting P.J. Washington at No. 12. The power forward out of Kentucky has started every game for the Hornets this season and is loving the spacing in the NBA game, scoring efficiently in the paint while shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc on 3.4 attempts per game, plus is averaging 5.3 rebounds a game.

Now the Hornets are going to be without him, likely for a couple of weeks, due to a fractured fifth finger on his right hand (pinkie). He suffered it in the fourth quarter against Chicago Friday night.

While the Hornets officially only list him as out for Sunday against the Pacers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports he’s going to be out through Christmas, which would mean at least five games.

Usually this would mean more minutes for Marvin Williams, but he is out with a sore right knee. Most likely, coach James Borego slides an undersized Miles Bridges over to the four — which had been the preseason plan until Washington surprised everyone — but he has a variety of small-ball players who likely will get a little run there.

The 12-16 Hornets are hanging around the playoff picture, just 1.5 games out of the eight seed (Orlando).