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Kobe Bryant to be in on meeting with Turkish squad

Jul 29, 2011, 11:06 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant talks during a news conference after the Lakers were knocked out of the NBA basketball playoffs in Los Angeles AP

We’d already told you that Kobe Bryant’s people would be meeting on July 30 (Saturday) with officials from the Turkish club Besiktas, but it turns out Kobe himself will be in on the talks, according to Reuters (via ESPNLA).

As we mentioned in previous stories, every time Kobe’s people speak things are cautious, every time someone from Besiktas speaks, they are wildly optimistic.

For example, Seref Yalcin, head of basketball operations for Besiktas, said there was a 50/50 chance they could sign Kobe. Despite the fact Besiktas has had assets frozen due to a soccer match-fixing scandal, they say money to pay Kobe would not be a problem because sponsors such as Turkish Airlines would step up to cover the costs for the club. Except, that’s far from written in stone.

“We know that Besiktas is very much interested [in Bryant] and they’ve been in touch with our company as well, but we haven’t started any kind of negotiations or anything like that yet,” Fatma Yuceler, a spokeswoman for Turkish Airlines, told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday.

Either way, the NBA players union likes all this talk — Besiktas already signed Deron Williams and the union wants stars to sign overseas because it shows that the players have other options to make money. Sure, less money and only a fraction of the players, but there are options for some.

Kobe is currently in Washington D.C. for a charity soccer event.

Whether Kobe would put more mileage on his knees for a team in the Turkish league — one that did not qualify for EuroLeague — and a fraction of his NBA salary remains a serious question. Frankly, we’d be shocked. But he is at least going to sit down with them and hear their pitch.

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