Bryant mulling offers to play in China

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant(notes) is engaged in far more substantive contract talks with teams in China than he is Turkish team Besiktas, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman tweeted Sunday that the team made an official offer to Bryant last week and plans to meet with Bryant’s agent in Los Angeles this week. However, a source close to Bryant said he hasn’t had conversations with the Turkish team in two weeks, and labeled Bryant’s chances of playing with Besiktas at “zero percent.”

Kobe Bryant recently returned from a three-week trip that included a stop in China.
(AP photo)

Bryant, sources said, is still listening to offers to play overseas during the NBA’s lockout, and considers China a more likely option. He has exchanged proposals with Chinese teams, and one source said it’s unlikely Bryant would accept any deal that pays him less than $1.5 million per month. Bryant would be free to rejoin the Lakers as soon as the lockout ends.

Bryant, a source close to him said, also has become irritated with Besiktas officials making public proclamations on the status of talks with him.

Bryant was in Washington over the weekend to participate in a celebrity soccer game held by Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra. He recently returned from a three-week trip in which he spent time in China as well as the Philippines where he played in two exhibition games.

Besiktas already has agreed on contract terms with New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams(notes) to play next season in Turkey until the lockout ends. Allen Iverson(notes) played for Besiktas last season, but an injury cut short his stay.

Bryant said during his recent trip to China that he would consider playing in China or Turkey during the lockout.

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Updated Sunday, Jul 31, 2011