NBA AM: Kobe Bryant Gets An Offer
Kobe Gets An Offer: Turkish basketball’s Besiktas ColaTurka met with Rob Pelinka the agent for Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant and are reported to have made a lucrative offer to the Lakers’ franchise player.
Bryant was not part of the meeting, and rumors have surfaced that Bryant’s camp was simply playing things smart with the Turkish affections, mainly because Bryant is the spokesperson for Turkish Airlines. They now have a deal in hand and are expected to meet again at some point today.
Sources close to the situation say there has been talk of Bryant playing in China, and that part of his compensation would be underwritten by Nike. The talk suggested Bryant could pocket as much as $10 million for the season if he donned a Chinese jersey. However, it seems the only way Kobe secures that much money is if his deal does not have a NBA-out clause, which is something Bryant could not commit to under FIBA guidelines.
One of the things to keep in mind on this is while most of the International offers are real money, how these dollars are being generated is sketchy at best.
In Besiktas’ case they have been pressuring advertisers involved with their soccer club to step up and underwrite these contracts. In Deron Williams’ case they secured an advertiser to pay Williams and it seems they have a sponsor or group of sponsors to underwrite Kobe.
The sponsor only pays if the players actually play, so there is a lot of gray area on these deals.
Another thing to note is while NBA players like Kobe Bryant are free to sign deals abroad, they will have the spectre of injury hanging over their heads.
The Uniform NBA Contract all players sign gives them the right to practice and train in the offseason and if injuries are sustained during legitimate training they are covered under their deal. However, the moment a player accepts monies for his services, any injury sustained could jeopardize his NBA contract.
It’s unlikely the L.A. Lakers would mess with Kobe Bryant, however if he has a major injury the Lakers would have the option of existing the remaining three years and $83.54 million remaining on his deal.
For Kobe the risk is real… he is on the down side of his career and he has $83.5 million on the line. Is it worth the risk?
Bryant underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy on his bothersome right knee in May. He played recently in the Philippines and is said to be going through his normal offseason conditioning work.
Besiktas ColaTurka is not messing around… they legitimately have the means to sign Bryant, but is the risk involved really worth the short term money he’ll get in Turkey? That’s likely what has to be weighed.
The 2012 Guys: NBA Players’ Association Director Billy Hunter dropped something of a bombshell on Wednesday when he told lawyers gathers at The National Bar Association conference in Baltimore that if he “had to bet on it,” the 2011-2012 NBA season would be cancelled, saying the sides are simply too far apart.
While the idiocy of not making a deal seems apparent to everyone but the NBA and its Players, the idea of losing an entire season brings up some interesting wrinkles.
As the NBA has never lost an entire season to labor issues, how the 2012 NBA Draft would be handled remains unclear, as there is no precedent for it. It seems the smartest solution would be to simply put all 30 teams into the NBA Lottery and select the draft order randomly.
However a draft in 2012 would require the NBA to have a labor deal in April, and if there is no deal for the 2011-2012 season, the odds of a deal being reached in April seems remote. So if the NBA season is scrubbed there could be a chance the NBA Draft is scrubbed as well, or moved back on the calendar to accommodate reaching a deal.
The easier scenario to understand is those players whose contracts end on July 1st 2012. Players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams.
If the NBA season is lost, those players would hit free agency on July 1st or once a deal is reached.
The clock does not stop ticking on contracts, so there is a very real possibility that you have seen Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams play their last games for their current teams.
Now one point to keep in mind is that while labor talks are contentious now, if an entire season is lost all of the items the NBA Owners want in a labor deal, they will likely get, and that could include a franchise player provision or some type of mechanism for teams to keep their own star players.
But the truth of the matter is that if the season is lost, the contracts for those players who expire in July of 2012, will expire, and that could make the frenzy of free agency once a deal is reach even more interesting because there are some 125 players already waiting for their next deal as part of the 2011 Free agent class.
So things could get interesting after they are crappy for awhile.
Dirk’s Not Looking: While some NBA stars are considering their options aboard, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki says after playing in the European Olympic qualifiers he plans to wait out the process.
“I’m going to play the Euros and then see where the lockout is after that. Until then, I’m not going to look at playing anywhere else.” Nowitzki said to Marc Stein of ESPN.com
Dirk didn’t close the door completely on playing for another team, but says he’d need to see the season in real jeopardy before fielding any serious offers.
“I’ve always said I’m too old to sit around for a whole year,” said Nowitzki. “I still can’t see this being a long lockout, but if it is, I’m going to find somewhere to play.”
Nowitzki and Clippers’ center Chris Kaman are playing in the EuroBasket tournament in Lithuania for the German national team.
Two spots in the 2012 Olympic games can be earned in the EuroBasket tournament which gets underway August 31st. This year’s tournament will span six cities in Lithuania and features 24 teams.
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