Kobe Bryant: Move to Turkey Will Further Splinter Fragmented Players

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2011

DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers wipes his face during play against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As the NBA dives further into the hell of a lockout that threatens to rip the league to shreds, Kobe Bryant and the rest of his superstar brethren have decided to get theirs.

It started with Deron Williams, who signed a deal to play in Turkey in case of a prolonged lockout. The move shook the NBA community to its core, as one of the world's best players decided to jump ship for a lucrative contract. Not long after, Bryant was linked to the same Turkish club, and the negotiations have gotten serious, as the former MVP will meet with the club this weekend to discuss a deal.

Bryant and Williams aren't the only NBA stars to ponder a move overseas, as every All-Star in basketball has answered that question, most of them leaving their options open.

At a time when the players should be united in the face of an unprecedented attack from the owners, the league's top stars have decided to bail on the rest of their comrades in search of some extra money. The conventional thinking has said that this would add leverage against David Stern and the owners, giving them a reason to approach the negotiating table, but what no one thinks of is the players that won't be getting calls from overseas clubs.

What happens when guys like Detroit's Will Bynum or Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough don't get calls to play somewhere during the lockout while Bryant and Williams are collecting major tax-free paychecks in Turkey?

It is at that point when the union will fragment further and the owners will get the leverage they need to take the power back. The lockout has dragged on, but the union has failed to take a stand against Stern and his cronies, opting not to decertify. When the players should be speaking out against the opposition, they have been too busy playing in exhibition games and taking tours for Nike and other brands.

Now is the time for unity, yet Bryant and the rest of the league's top stars have once again been seduced by dollar signs. They have every right to do this, but the consequences can be quite severe as the threat of missed games looms over these negotiations.

As we get closer and closer to mid-tier players losing game checks, there is going to be an uprising against the NBA's stars, who have guaranteed money sitting overseas. They are going to want a deal, because they need that money to get by seeing as they aren't making superstar salaries.

Before Bryant signs on the dotted line, he better make perfectly sure that he has examined every possible outcome and is ready to face any negative circumstances that will result from his exodus.

Instead of fighting the owners, the players will end up fighting themselves because a few stars wanted to chase money overseas.