Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 6:17 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
It took us all awhile to digest what the heck they were up to, but Turkish basketball club Besiktas has emerged as the NBA lockout's winner for most hilariously random.
Besiktas wasted no time this summer, signing New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams to a multi-million dollar contract and then trying to leverage that into pursuits of seemingly dozens of NBA players, including Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant. In the end, the NBA and its players reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement before Besiktas was able to team Williams with another star.
Keep in mind, Besiktas isn't even competing in the Euroleague, so all Besiktas really had to gain was Turkish league dominance and a ton of international publicity. No matter, Williams led Besiktas to a 6-1 record during his stint in Turkey, and despite not selling out the team's 3,200 seat arena, Williams averaged 19.7 points, 6.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 54.9 percent from the field. The highlight was obviously a recent 50-point scoring explosion. He leaves Turkey with Besiktas in second place in the standings, one game behind leaders Anadolu Efes, whose roster includes Sasha Vujacic and Ersan Ilyasova.
Despite spending less than three months in Turkey, Williams has been formally honored by the team, who retired his No. 8 jersey and raised it to the rafters. I can't think of a better, funnier way to commemorate this incredibly unique experience for both club and player. Just awesome.
The next, obvious question: Will the Nets retire Williams' jersey after he bolts in free agency next summer?
Here's the video of Turkish club Besiktas retiring Deron Williams' jersey courtesy of YouTube user realderonwilliams.
Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.
Posted on: November 24, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: November 24, 2011 5:50 pm
By Matt Moore
Update: In a typical sign of how flimsy these European deals are, Sportando reports that the deal with Lopez has fallen through, and it's now Lamar Odom who has agreed to a deal with Besiktas. We'll wait to see if this falls through as well.
After whiffing on Kobe Bryant and swinging out on Kevin Love, it looks like Besiktas has its next NBA star to go with Deron Williams. Sportando reports that Brook Lopez will head to Turkey to join Williams for the duration of the NBA Lockout, via Kartal Basket.
That makes two Nets on Besiktas, and could help with developing chemistry between Lopez and Williams. Which, if the entire season is lost, won't be much help since Williams may bolt in free agency, and the Nets could jettison Lopez in restricted free agency. But it still makes for a notable teammate for Williams this season in Istanbul, and more time with Williams will help Lopez regardless of where he ends up. Playing with a point guard of his caliber will do wonders for him.
Meanwhile, Williams hasn't been suffering as of late, scoring 50 points, shooting 17-23 from the field. Not a bad day's work.
Lopez struggled last season under Avery Johnson, and his rebounding numbers have become an area of concern for his development. But he's still one of the better low-post and high pick-and-roll players in the league and should help Besiktas this season.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:44 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Now that's more like it.
When an NBA All-Star in his prime signs to play internationally, the immediate expectation is that he will receive a hero's welcome and proceed to dominate on the court. It hasn't been that easy for New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams. Since inking a contract with Turkey's Besiktas last summer, Williams has admitted that the team isn't selling out its 3,200-person stadium and has expressed frustration that the NBA lockout is still ongoing. He's been averaging 20.5 points, 6.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game for Besiktas in Turkish league play, according to DraftExpress.com, but those aren't the charity game numbers that many people were expecting from one of the world's elite players against non-NBA competition.
On Tuesday, Williams finally delivered the type of international smackdown that many had anticpated, dumping in 50 points in a 105-94 Eurochallenge Cup win over German professional club Goettingen, according to the team's official site. DraftExpress.com reported that Williams shot 17-for-23 from the field, hitting seven 3-pointers.
Here's video of Deron Williams' 50-point explosion via YouTube user TheDrizzleIsLocal.
Hat Tip: Sportando.net.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 3:44 pm
By Matt Moore
The Turkish basketball club that had been pursuing a frontcourt running mate for Deron Williams will have to find someone other than Kevin Love. ESPN spoke with Love via text and the Minnesota All-Star confirmed that he is still looking at options overseas.
"I didn't feel it was the right decision for me at this time," Love told ESPN.com.via Kevin Love of Minnesota Timberwolves declines Besiktas' offer - ESPN.
Besiktas signed Deron Williams early in the lockout process, and the results in terms of attendance have not been staggering. Williams admitted recently that attendance hasn't been anywhere near a sellout for the club. Williams is averaging over 20 points and seven assists per game but has also said the transition overseas has been difficult in some ways.
Love was considered an option for Besiktas along with Chicago's Luol Deng in a weird contract in choice of options. It's not know what the offer for Love was, but apparently it wasn't good enough to drag the 30-30 machine over. Besiktas failed after multiple attempts to secure the services of Kobe Bryant this past summer. NTV Spor of Turkey reports Carlos Boozer and Polish center Marcin Gortat are also on Besiktas' wish list.
Posted on: November 5, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 1:52 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Deron Williams just posted the equivalent of a personal ad on his official blog this weekend, reminding any NBA general managers that are paying attention that he will be a free agent next summer and is definitely interested in entertaining their offers.
At the end of a lengthy blog post about life on and off the court in Turkey, where he is playing for Besiktas, Williams drops the following paragraph for no apparent reason other than to increase the stress level of New Jersey Nets fans.
First, it would make sense for Williams to rent even if he was committed to the Nets. New Jersey is a team in flux, planning a move to Brooklyn that will include a name change re-branding. There's no reason to buy now. That's just logistically logical. If he wants to re-sign with the Nets, he would either need to buy in Brooklyn and commute to New Jersey this season or buy in New Jersey and commute to Brooklyn in the future. Either way, less than ideal. There's real value in waiting.
Of course, the travel logistics are not the major deciding factor here. The Nets sport one of the worst rosters in the league and they took a major gamble in trading Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first round picks and monetary considerations to acquire Williams without any assurances that he would re-sign long-term. The ongoing NBA lockout has wiped out -- at least so far -- the one season the Nets were guaranteed to have his services and it has delayed and compressed (or cancelled) the free agency period that the Nets had hoped to use to find a big-name to help convince Williams to re-sign. In other words, the Nets are a mess compounded by another, much larger mess.
Williams is 27 now. He lost a year of his prime to a trade and he's losing another year of his prime to NBA negotiations. He wants to win now and he will have plenty of suitors next summer who will be able to make a compelling financial offer while also promising a better chance at postseason success. New Jersey will exit the lockout with the ability to make Williams the best possible financial offer but Williams' Turkish experience and his "keeping my options open" stance here suggests that far more than money will play into his summer 2012 decision-making process.
Hat tip: HoopsHype.com
Posted on: October 8, 2011 4:06 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A few days back, we noted that New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who signed to play with Besiktas of Turkey during the ongoing NBA lockout, is struggling to adapt to the European game.
On Friday, Williams penned a diary entry on ESPN.com in which he discusses the transition to Besiktas. He notes that its a great bonding experience for his family, that he's still getting used to the spacing of the European game, that he's slowly building chemistry with his new teammates and that he's still getting back into 5-on-5 game shape.
All interesting details. But the following was buried at the bottom, and it sure jumps out.
The arena we play at seats 3,200 people max, so it's not quite the same environment of an NBA game and it hasn't been full yet because these aren't the really big games. Once we start the Turkish league games, it will be different, I think. But the fans that have been at the games are really good fans. They're really into the game nonstop from tip-off and knowledgeable about it. They've been great to play in front of.Yes, you read that correctly. A high-profile NBA All-Star who is arguably one of the top 10 basketball players in the world cannot fill a 3,200 person stadium while playing for one of the higher-profile international professional teams. Williams isn't necessarily a high-flyer, but he plays an exciting game, boasting great vision, an array of attacking dribble moves and an ability to finish in a variety of ways. He's one of those guys near the top of the list of NBA players you would "pay to see," as the saying goes, yet he's drawing a crowd that is no more than 20 percent of an averge NBA crowd.
There's certainly value in landing a high-flight player like Williams, and perhaps Besiktas has some incredible marketing campaigns going on outside the arena to further capitalize on his presence, but it's fair to wonder whether they are getting their money's worth on the multi-million dollar contract they reportedly paid him. Ticket sales are the bread and butter of basketball economics. That base generally needs to get covered if you hope to recoup a major salary investment like the one Besiktas and its sponsor made in Williams.
On the bright side, at least Besiktas is outdrawing the Las Vegas "Lockout League," which struggled to bring in 50 fans on some days. In the end, Williams' experience is Turkey is simply further proof that the NBA and its players badly need each other to reach their respective economic best interests.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:40 am
By Matt Moore
Sounds like a great vacation, right? See the sights, try local food, experience a new culture. And hey, play some basketball with guys who aren't even in your league. You can drop 40 a game if you really want to, but you won't, because you're a guest in their country.
Turns out it's not quite that easy for Deron Williams with Besiktas in Turkey. From ProBasketballTalk.com:
Williams led Besiktas into the EuroCup last week, which is a second tier tournament that took place in Belgium, and he had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting with 6 turnovers. The man who should dominate at this level watched his team get eliminated fast.via Deron Williams not impressing anyone in Europe so far | ProBasketballTalk.
Williams told the New York Times that he's getting bumped around so much, it's difficult for him to adjust. So to review, he can't hit shots, and the guy who's less than four months removed from wrist surgery is getting lots of contact without an NBA training staff around.
That sound you hear is Mikhail Prokhorov saying "No, really, 52 percent BRI is fine!"
Posted on: September 10, 2011 9:42 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If you were in the "I'll believe it when I see it crowd" with regard to New Jersey Nets All-Star guard Deron Williams' decision to play professionally in Turkey, you can officially believe it.
Williams made his debut for Besiktas on Saturday, just two days after arriving in Turkey, where he was mobbed by fans at the airport. Besiktas defeated Italian club Montepaschi Siena, 93-91, in a touranment in Italy. Williams finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 18 minutes of action according to NetsDaily.com.
Reacton to the first game was positive from both player and coach.
Williams explained on Twitter that his appearance wasn't necessarily planned.
Went to the gym to watch the team play today! Shot around for a couple min and then decided to play and got a [Win]! #WhyNotA translated TotalBasket.com quoted Williams' coach calling him "the biggest player in Europe."
Back in Nov. 2010, former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson lost in his debut appearance for Besiktas. By January, reports surfaced that Iverson would leave Besiktas due to a leg injury.
Now that the "Will Williams actually show up in Turkey?" question has been answered, attention turns to the obvious next question: "How long will he last?"