With the National Basketball Association formally on hiatus due to a labor dispute, one NBA superstar has decided he’s not going to wait around if the league isn’t back up and running by the start of the season. New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams has reached a tentative agreement with Besiktas, a Turkish basketball team, to play overseas next season on a one-year, $5 million deal.
Besiktas is no stranger to NBA talent; the club signed popular point guard Allen Iverson last season in hopes of rejuvenating his career. Although the Iverson experiment fizzled out, landing the 27-year-old Williams in the event of an NBA lockout gives the team an NBA all-star in the prime of his career.
The team reportedly won’t stop recruiting NBA players at just Williams. The head coach of the club, Ergin Ataman, has told the New York Times that his team also has a deal with Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachuila and could be in the hunt for an even bigger name than Williams, Kobe Bryant.
“If there’s a possibility, we’ll talk with Kobe if he’d like to play in Europe with Deron,” Ataman said. “If Kobe would like to play with us, we will also contact his agent and maybe with him.”
Associates close to the NBA expect that this summer’s lockout could become a lengthy process, so Williams’ signing could open the door for more NBA players to journey overseas in the wake of a work stoppage. The point guard’s deal includes a clause that would allow him to return to America following a resolution in the NBA labor dispute.
The president of Besiktas, Seref Yalcin, will join Williams for a press conference next week to introduce the Nets’ star to his Turkish team.