When Deron Williams said “Kobe could make more Money Overseas Guaranteed” , the New Jersey Nets’ guard was assuming European teams like Turkey’s Besiktas sports club, who recently signed Williams to a one-year $5 million contract, could actually pay their athletes at all.
According to ESPN LA, there is an ongoing scandal that has forced Besiktas to suspend their pursuit of Lakers’ All-Star Kobe Bryant while in the midst of financial negotiations. Because of futbol match-fixing allegations, Besiktas has entered a world of trouble with the jailing of their futbol coach and deputy chairman and the freezing of their accounts, including those assigned to their basketball club.
A staple of Williams’ contract, and Bryant’s potential one, was the option to leave upon the reinstatement of the NBA’s 2011-2012 season. However, no one suspected the NBA stars or Besiktas would have to exercise the opt-out clause so soon, but that may be the case if Besiktas can’t pay Williams, or any other player, at all.
Besiktas was reported to have offered Bryant between $400,000 -$500,000 per month, to which Bryant’s people countered with a $1 million per month proposal, though none of this holds much significance at the moment. While Bryant could overlook the club’s troubles upon the clearance of Besiktas’ name (and the unfreezing of their accounts), such result seems unlikely.
Of course Bryant has other options overseas, but the prospective collaboration of Bryant and Williams offered Besiktas the most potential in drawing NBA and international basketball fans, media coverage and money along with making them the premier example of European basketball’s possible threat to the NBA, and the most alluring option for players, during this lockout.
While overseas and international playing rumors are long from being over this summer, the NBA may have caught a temporary break in the pressure that comes from the migration of the NBA’s best players.