After Deron Williams announced that he will be playing in Turkey if the NBA lockout begins cutting into the scheduled 2011-12 season, the Turkish club Besiktas is apparently looking to land one more NBA superstar.
As it turns out, that superstar may be Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is still in Asia for his annual basketball tour. Coach Ergin Ataman of Besiktas has stated that the team has made an official offer to Bryant, and is waiting to hear back from Bryant’s representatives.
According to Besiktas team sources the team is trying to meet Bryant’s salary demands, which are reportedly around $1 million per month. After already signing Williams, who is an All-Star player from the New Jersey Nets, Besiktas might have trouble having enough money to bring in Bryant as well. The club originally stated that they had only $500,000, or half of Bryant’s demanded price.
Ataman states that the money to pay Bryant’s potential salary would come from two sources; the Besiktas club and a special sponsor that is currently unknown.
That sponsor may play a bigger role than some think, especially since European teams sell advertising space on official team jerseys. The chance to see Bryant wearing a jersey that promotes their company is enough to have any marketing executive drooling.
While nothing is official, Ataman feels confident that Bryant will end up signing with Besiktas. He stated both he and the club are ‘very optimistic’ that Bryant will sign.
If Bryant does sign with Besiktas it would be a huge win for the Turkish club. He would undoubtedly be the biggest basketball start to play in Europe during his prime. It would also give Bryant a chance to play alongside Williams, who is one of the top guards in the world.
Bryant still has three years remaining on his deal with the Lakers, and will turn 33 in August.