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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Turkish officials claim they've spoken to Kobe's peeps

By Brian Kamenetzky

Basically, says the report, officials for Besiktas in Turkey say Camp Kobe is waiting for an offer to join Deron Williams should the lockout extend into the NBA season. From there, I suppose conversations can begin. The Turkish club, however, would need a significant infusion of cash from a sponsor to cover Bryant's contract demands, reportedly $1 million a month. (In other news, Besiktas' basketball funds are currently frozen thanks to a match fixing scandal involving the team's soccer operations. Always a confidence booster...)

I still don't believe any of this puts Kobe even remotely close to signing a deal (and suspect the folks at Besiktas are using the opportunity for a little free P.R.). The difference between asking "What can you give us?" and saying "We're in." is large enough to span the Sea of Marmara four or five times. The former is due diligence. The latter, a far more serious commitment.

As I've said, should a team, Besiktas or otherwise, arrive at Bryant's front door flush with exquisitely adorned sacks of Turkish lira, enough cash to cover the insurance he'd have to take on the $85 million or so remaining on his Lakers contract and leaving enough to make the whole thing worthwhile, there's a reasonable chance he'd go play. The offer, though, would have to be overwhelming to make it worth Kobe's time and effort, and until I see such a deal don't believe it will come.