After signing NBA point guard Deron Williams, Turkey's Besiktas basketball team is looking to acquire shooting guard Kobe Bryant. However a pending soccer investigation could have implications on the Istanbul club losing out on both players.
With an NBA lockout taking place, Ergin Ataman, the Turkish Besiktas coach has said Bryant’s representatives communicated with him to discuss the possibility of the five-time world champion moving overseas.
“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant's managers have contacted us,” Ataman said, according to the Associated Press.
Former New Jersey Nets point guard, Deron Williams, officially announced a one-year $5 million deal with Ataman and Besiktas on Tuesday. Williams said it would be financially beneficial for Bryant to join him overseas.
“(Kobe) could go make more money overseas, I guarantee you,” Williams told ESPN. “If (European teams) knew he could be there for a full season, or they knew I could be there for a full season, or they knew LeBron James could be there for a full season, they’ll pay more money, of course.”
However, issues within the Besiktas organization may halt the possibility of Bryant or Williams moving to Turkey to continue their basketball careers.
The Turkish soccer league is being investigated for illegal game-fixing, leading to the Besiktas soccer coach and deputy chairman’s incarceration, according to ESPN LA. Amid a pending investigation, the Besiktas accounts have reportedly been frozen.
In an interview with Turkish reporter Ismail Senol, the only financial concern Ataman discussed was finding a sponsor for Bryant. Without a sponsor, the Turkish sports club may not be able to afford the $400,000-$500,000 per month contract they reportedly wanted to offer Bryant.
“Kobe wants to play in Besiktas. We are still trying to find a special sponsor to make this happen,” Ataman said. “Our board will evaluate that.”
If the Besiktas sports club can afford to acquire the 13 time all-star, he will begin with the Turkish league in October at the start of the new season.
Aside from the pursuit of Bryant and Williams, the Turkish sports club previously signed Allen Iverson who was forced to sit out last season due to injury.