Kobe Bryant playing in Turkey next season seems to be becoming more of a possibility each day, at least if the NBA lockout continues to prevent him from playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. The latest rumors, according to the head coach of Turkish team Besiktas, indicates that talks are even further along than previously indicated.
Besiktas Coach Ergin Ataman, quickly becoming an American media darling as he's been quoted by nearly every outlet imaginable since his team signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, talked to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday regarding a timeline regarding his team's courting of Kobe.
"We made our offer to Kobe and now we are waiting for their comments about the situation," Ataman said. "But we didn't talk about details. I think they are thinking now about our offer, and I think in the beginning of August, the first week of August, our president [Yildirim Demiroren] will be in the United States for Deron Williams' press conference and I think that they will meet to sign in USA with Kobe."
When that meeting takes place, Ataman seems optimistic that Bryant will see the light and sign with Besiktas.
"Yes, we feel Kobe will sign with us," Ataman said. "We feel because Besiktas is a very good club, very famous club. At this moment, after the United States, Turkey is in the best league in Europe. Besiktas has great fans. I think it is positive. So we are very optimistic about Kobe to sign."
Eternally optimistic, as has been the case with Ataman, he doesn't even foresee issues with Bryant asking for $1 million per month after the club originally offered half of that.
"We are negotiating about this," Ataman said. "This amount is very, very big for Europe in this situation. But I think that we find a solution to arrive to be happy and to have a happy Kobe for the money. But the main thing I think will be that Kobe will come here to play basketball with Deron Williams to stay in shape, to take good money and to play basketball.
"The first option is the money. Of course, it is not impossible to take."
It seems the team will probably need to come up with the money, regardless of Bryant's interest in playing with a fellow NBA All-Star, but Ataman is doing a pretty good job of marketing his team regardless.
Now, the question is if anything will come to fruition following the August meeting.