Make no mistake, this is about leverage in negotiations.
However the threat of going overseas to play sounds reasonable coming from Kobe, a guy who has the money and is a competitor at heart. Doesn’t mean the guy whose body could use a little rest is actually going to go over to Europe or China, or even Turkey.
But as you can see from the video (with quotes below) he is playing along with the union’s “I’m open to playing overseas game.
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“The one thing about basketball is it’s a global sport now, so you can play anywhere you want to.
“As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls, whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or a team here in China decides to call, then I’ll be ready….
“I always like being the hunter, I’m going after something. It doesn’t matter that I have one now, that means nothing to me. I have five (NBA titles), next year I’m playing like I don’t have five, you know what I mean? I’m playing for that one. I’m not looking over my shoulder and seeing who is coming behind me, I’m coming to get something else.”
The reality is that while may well do a barnstorming tour of China but don’t expect more, no matter how long the lockout goes. But he knows how to play the game… the negotiations game.
They want him in Istanbul (and he does endorse Turkish Airlines)…
But would Kobe Bryant play in Turkey? Or in Europe in general? He spent some years of his childhood in Italy, would he return as a professional?
Maybe, according to the twitter account of Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Kobe Bryant is open to considering overseas offers for the duration of NBA lockout, sources familiar with his thinking tell Y! Sports.
Considering offers is very different than actually packing your bags and going.
Kobe is set to make $25.2 million next season, more than any other player in the NBA. Deron Williams is going to get paid $200,000 a month in Turkey, Wojnarowski reported later in the day. Kobe is already working with his agent to set up a barnstorming tour of China, which will be worth far more to his brand than $200,000. Why would he give that up to play in Europe?
And all of that is a risk — any player who gets injured overseas can have his contract voided. Frankly, that’s less of a concern for Kobe (still the Lakers talisman) or even Deron Williams (the Nets still see him as a building block) but it’s a risk.
No European team could come close to paying what Kobe makes in the NBA (he couldn’t get half that). Would he risk all that money to play in Europe for a couple months? That’s not how Kobe works.
But of course he says he’ll consider offers, that’s how you keep pressure on the owners in the negotiations.