Kevin Love, Luol Deng could play in Turkey
As time and hope for salvaging an NBA season continue to dissipate, Turkey’s top team is engaged in serious talks with Kevin Love(notes) and Luol Deng(notes) about joining point guard Deron Williams(notes) in the Turkish Basketball League.
“I’ve been going back and forth with Deron on it,” Love told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears on Friday. “I’ll be making my decision in the next couple of days.”
Deng’s representatives have traded contract proposals with Besiktas too, sources said, and they’re working on insurance proposals to protect the remaining $42 million on his Chicago Bulls contract.
Deng’s premiums are expected to cost $50,000 a month, and a source close to him said it’s doubtful he would accept an offer below $150,000 per month to play overseas. Players are left to subtract the insurance payments from their salaries.
It’s possible Besiktas will sign the first player willing to agree to a deal, but a source briefed on Besiktas’ strategy believes team officials prefer Love. Williams and Love share the same agent, which plays a part in the preference.
Agents and players are rapidly coming to terms with the reality that hopes for ending the lockout – and saving the season – are bleaker than ever. Ownership sources told Yahoo! Sports there’s a consensus among the group to let the players miss another round of checks on Dec. 1 and further test the resolve of the 450-plus players. Owners will soon review the players’ lawsuits filed against the league in California and Minnesota. More suits brought by the players could still be on the way.
[ Related: Ten NBA players not afraid of a long lockout ]
League officials aren’t rushing to meet again with the players prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and are waiting on former Players Association executive director Billy Hunter to contact commissioner David Stern about restarting talks again. The owners have little, to no interest, in negotiating a settlement with the players’ prominent new front man, antitrust attorney David Boies.
The league had scheduled a conference call with owners on Thursday, but it lasted less than a half hour. So far, the NBA has no strategy call set with the labor relations committee for next week. There is expected to be a revenue sharing committee call before Thanksgiving.
“Some owners are nervous that Stern will wake up and say, ‘Let’s go get something done now’, but I don’t think he’s going to do that,” one ownership source said. “The season’s not on the line Nov. 17. I think he’s going let them stew in the decision they made [to disband the union], and see how they react when they miss the checks on Dec. 1.”
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo(notes) and Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins(notes), close friends, have been discussing the possibility of playing together overseas, and have had representatives inquiring on the possibilities, sources said.
Rondo and Perkins are interested in playing in higher-paying countries, such as Italy, Spain and Russia, sources said. There’s no deal in the works, and it’s unclear if there’s even a team that could financially put together the kind of contracts it would take to lure the players.
Insurance premiums cut significantly into the money that teams are willing to pay frontline NBA starters, and in some instances, the difference left in pay won’t make the leap overseas worth making for some players.
Yahoo! Sports’ NBA reporter Marc J. Spears contributed to this report
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