One thing seems for certain: Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant wants to play basketball this upcoming season.
What isn’t as clear is where and for whom.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the NBA season won’t start on time due to the owner-imposed lockout, so Bryant, like several other NBA players, is looking for a temporary home overseas while the NBA and its players work out the labor strife.
"I'm just waiting for my phone to ring. Here it is," said Bryant, who playfully sat his cell phone on the interview table during a press conference over Sunday in Washington, D.C. "I will play anywhere."
For weeks now, anywhere has seemed like Turkey, where the club team Besiktas has been talking like a deal was imminent. But Yahoo! Sports is reporting that teams in China may be a better option. Sources are saying that the chances of Bryant playing for the Turkish team that also signed Deron Williams is “zero percent.”
Apparently, Bryant hasn’t spoken with the Turkish team in weeks despite reports the two sides were suppose to meet in Washington, D.C., this past weekend. Bryant confirmed as much during his press conference.
“I haven't spoken to Besiktas in weeks," Bryant said while attending two soccer events sponsored by the Turkish airline he represents in the nation’s capitol over the weekend.
Bryant is said to be seeking about $1.5 million per month to play overseas. Besiktas has been up front it can’t afford that payment but there seemed hope that Turkish Airlines would kick in part of Bryant’s salary.
Bryant, however, seems open to other overseas options. He grew up overseas while his father played basketball so the idea of being away from America isn’t as daunting for Bryant as it might be for some others.
(Photo: AP Photo/Chris Carlson)