Blown up by the media, exaggerated by a Turkish ball club (Besiktas), and now denied by Kobe Bryant himself, the speculations of Bryant playing for Besitkas—who had recently signed Utah star, Deron Williams—has died, but the chances of him playing overseas is still very alive.
At a news conference in Washington this last Saturday, Bryant said, "I haven't spoken to Besiktas in weeks," confirming the inaccuracy of the comments made by Seref Yalcin, the head of basketball operations for Besiktas, saying that there was a "50-50" chance that Kobe would indeed sign with the club.
This comment along with others have now been resolved, but the fact that Kobe played in multiple exhibition games in the Philippines and plans to tour in China, has been enough of a reason to believe that he will eventually play somewhere else during the lockout, whether it be Turkey or not.
For Laker fans, there couldn't be news worse than this. Kobe is coming off a form of platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee and has only recently began to recover from his sprained left ankle along with his arthritic index finger. Rest is what Kobe needs now, not another chance to produce more wear-and-tear on his body, bringing father-time that much closer to reality.
The NBA lockout has brought many mixed feelings towards the idea of playing overseas during the inactive period of play, and unless your name is listed on the rookie reports or utility list, you shouldn't even think about signing a short-term deal with a foreign club that is only interested in a short spurt of excitement.
The cons outweigh the the pros in this case and a seasoned veteran such as Kobe should know better than to waste the one chance he may have to rest his aging body.
Should Kobe Play Overseas?
Kobe has been chasing what would be his sixth championship ring, which would of course tie him with the great Michael Jordan, and playing overseas will only bring upon a possibility of another injury, or less energy in the later part of the season and heading into the playoffs if the Lakers advance.
Kobe doesn't need the extra money, unless he feels like his remaining three-year, $84 million contract just enough to satisfy his daily needs, which isn't the case.
With NBA.com's David Aldridge whopping zero percent prediction added with ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher's two percent, Kobe's added total chances of playing for the Besiktas, comes out to a very convincing two percent chance.
Though this has nothing to do with the overall chance of Kobe playing in exhibitions and tours in other foreign countries, it at least gives Laker fans a sigh of relief as one myth dies and another begins to gain more attention.
Kobe did say, "I'm just waiting for my phone to ring. Here it is, I will play anywhere."
Whatever this may have revealed for the future, the idea of Kobe playing overseas is still very alive.
Because of superstars including Kobe, Williams and now even Durant, this must produce more pressure onto the NBA to reach a new collective bargaining deal not only in the future, but as soon as possible.
Let's just hope that other NBA veterans remain calm and cool customers as the period of the very inconclusive 2011 NBA lockout continues. The last thing the NBA needs is a large group of big-name players arriving in wheel chairs and crutches if and when the lockout diminishes.