Kobe Bryant in talks with Besiktas, Turkish club says


In case you missed it, Kobe Bryant is doing a tour of Korea — and Asia. (Lee Jin-man / AP)

He already has Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets.

Now, Ergin Ataman, coach of the Besiktas Turkish team, would like to have Kobe Bryant on his team. With the NBA lockout in effect, his wish may not be far-fetched.

“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant's managers have contacted us,” Ataman said, via the Associated Press. He said that Bryant was waiting for an offer from the team, which Ataman says cannot afford Bryant without a sponsor. Ataman said, “Our board will evaluate that.”

Bryant, a 13-time All-Star who has won five NBA titles, is on an Asian tour along with other NBA players. As long as the contract with the Lakers trumps everything, why not? The Turkish League season begins in October and it’s fairly convenient to go back and forth from Los Angeles to Istanbul, thanks to Turkish Airlines. In fact, it looks like a pretty comfy flight in the commercial Bryant filmed after signing a controversial deal with the airline.

Ataman, undeterred by the fact that the team’s signing of Allen Iverson didn’t pan out because of injuries, said that agents for other NBA players have contacted Besiktas, but did not name them.

Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, most recently spotted courtside as his fiancee Maria Sharapova played at Wimbledon, signed last week with Turkish club Anadolu Efes. Nets draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic signed with Fenerbahce of the Turkish League in June.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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