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Sunday, November 20, 2011
Kevin Love turns down Besiktas offer

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love informed Besiktas of Turkey on Sunday that he's turning down its offer to sign with the Istanbul-based club and team up with New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams.

"I didn't feel it was the right decision for me at this time," Love told ESPN.com.

Love, though, said playing abroad if the lockout drags on "is still very much an option" he's considering.

NTV Spor of Turkey reported Friday that Love and Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng were Besiktas' top two targets in its search for an elite forward to play alongside Williams.

According to NTV Spor, Besiktas has also courted Deng's Chicago teammate Carlos Boozer, who is reportedly ready to make the jump to reunite in Istanbul with Williams, his former Utah Jazz co-star.

But insurance payments to cover either Deng or Boozer are a big financial obstacle for Besiktas, which made well-publicized runs during the summer at Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant and also briefly employed Allen Iverson last season.

The most likely Besiktas signing, according to NTV Spor, is Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat, for whom insurance would cost roughly half as much as Deng's and a third as much as Boozer's.

Yet it remains to be seen if Besiktas can indeed fund the signing of another NBA player in the wake of budget issues that have plagued the club in recent years. Two WNBA stars (Amber Harris and Jantel Lavender) recently left Besiktas' women's team in a dispute over late payments.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.