Posts Tagged ‘Besiktas’

D-Will: The Real Winner Of the Lockout

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When the lockout stretches for five months and takes as many dramatic twists and cynical turns as the recently ended 149-day odyssey we’ve all lived through since July 1, trying to designate “winners and losers” is a trivial pursuit we’d normally pass on around here.

But there’s more than just a new collective bargaining agreement rising from the ashes of the lockout. There’s a true winner in all of this, a man that blazed his own trail and gave his doubters the index finger over the lips sign for questioning his actions all those months ago.

You remember Nets point guard Deron Williams announced in July that he was headed to Turkey if the lockout stretched into the start of the NBA season. Folks chuckled at the idea of one of the league’s biggest stars scurrying halfway around the world to play for a team they’d barely heard of (Besiktas made headlines here in the states last season when they signed Allen Iverson to a contract) in a league they’d never heard of.

Comments blasting Williams for what appeared to be at the time a perplexing, panic move by an A-list player in the prime of his career turned out to be a masterstroke for Williams. Not only did he dazzle in his 15 games with Besiktas, averaging 21.8 points and 6.5 rebounds, he left Istanbul a hero, one with his No. 8 Besiktas jersey retired (check him out in the video above) and with a coach who speaks of him in a way usually reserved for a Hall of Famer:

“European basketball had a thrill during the NBA lockout,” Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman told the Hurriyet Daily News. “A star player like Deron wore the Besiktas jersey; many children came to love basketball thanks to him. Now, everything will be back the way it used to be.”

Williams also left with some nice pocket change (his reported salary in Turkey was $200,000 every four weeks) to make up for the NBA checks missed during the month and a half’s worth of NBA games missed due to the labor negotiations.

Williams returns just in time for the Christmas Day start to the NBA season, richer, wiser and in an even better position than he might have been if he decided not to play the role of trailblazer in this instance. So if there’s a player in better game shape heading into the NBA’s abbreviated training camps around the league, we want to see him. And if there’s a player with better leverage going into this season, he needs to show himself.

Williams chose not to sign a contract extension with the Nets and instead will resume his role as one of the two or three most coveted free agents in the game after this season. By opting out and becoming a free agent after the season, Williams could re-sign with the Nets for five years and $100 million or he could receive a four-year, $70 million deal from another team, per the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement to be.

That’s a budget boost of roughly $30 million for the guy crazy enough to assume that the lockout might actually take a little while to get solved and he needed a lucrative alternative that allowed him to train and compete at a high level while he waited.

(Keep in mind, this is the same man who pleaded the case all along that had the union threatened decertification right away the lockout might have ended even sooner.)

Now that he’s back home, the Nets are reportedly pursuing the likes of Dwight Howard (via some blockbuster trade) and free agent bigs Tyson Chandler and Nene, in an effort to entice Williams to stick around for the move to the Brooklyn in 2012-13.

Any way you slice it, Williams emerges from the lockout WINNING!

Iverson’s Done, Again?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Is it time for Allen Iverson to hang that Besiktas jersey next to the rest of those he’s worn throughout his illustrious basketball career?

That would appear to be the case, if the reports from Turkey are correct and Iverson is on his way back to the states for surgery on an his left calf and ankle. The translated info from Ajansspor, via our friends at HoopsWorld:

“Turkish Besiktas famous import, Allen Iverson, appears close to end his career in basketball. The former Philadelphia Sixers’ guard injured his left ankle recently and can’t stand the pain anymore. Later today, he will do a press conference to announce that he is going to have surgery in the United States and will be treated here. ‘Leaving the basketball world makes me sad but, sometimes, we have to accept things like they are. I can say goodbye to basketball,’ he revealed yesterday.”

This is what, the third time we’ve said goodbye to Iverson in the past couple of years? He’s entering Brett Favre territory here. At some point you have to know when to say when. Now is the time A.I.

And just like we suggested last year, A.I. doesn’t owe any of us anything. He’s milked every ounce of juice out of his tiny body. And no one can dispute his Hall of Fame status.

A six to eight week recovery time after a potential surgical procedure doesn’t bode well for Iverson’s chances of restarting his career at this advanced stage of the game. So why not just hang it up and ride off into the sunset.

A.I. On Your (NBA TV) Screen

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Allen Iverson in a new land, in a different jersey and an unfamiliar basketball world is simply something you should not miss.

Thanks to our friends at NBA TV, you won’t have to.

We’ll get a chance to see exactly what A.I. looks like playing for Besiktas Cola Turka of the Beko Turkish Basketball League today at 3:30 p.m. ET when they face defending TBL champ and crosstown rival Fenerbahce Ulker from Istanbul.

As my main man Ismail Senol translated for me: “It’s Duke-UNC game with more hate! (Yes it’s possible.)”

Understood. But we’re looking for one thing and one thing only.

We need to see if he’s still got it or if it’s over … really over this time.

We can live with the outcome either way. But we need to know why all 30 NBA teams passed on a chance to sign A.I.  to even a minimum contract. We need to know if it was (diminished) skill-related or something else? You know there are going to plenty of NBA executives watching, too.

They want to see the same things we all want to see. They want to see if the 11-time All-Star and former MVP can still turn it on the way he did earlier in his Hall of Fame career (and I know we can all agree that A.I. is headed for Springfield whenever he hangs up his Reeboks).

In the meantime, we’ll be tuning in to see for ourselves.

Wave Goodbye To A.I.

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s not just see you later.

It’s goodbye to Allen Iverson for NBA fans.

Iverson is expected to report to his new team, Besiktas in the Turkish professional league, by Halloween. It’s a move that has fans in Istanbul and throughout Turkey giddy at the thought of one of the best of his generation and all time, journeying to a new world (for Iverson) to try to revive his career, per the boys at Yahoo! Sports:

Iverson’s contract will give him an opt-out clause after this season. There’s no escape clause during the season for Iverson to leave Turkey and return to the NBA.

Iverson, 35, could make his debut for Besiktas on Nov. 6 in a game against Bornova. Besiktas played its first game of the season on Oct. 19 and is 1-1 in league standings.

Iverson has solicited more lucrative offers to play in China this season, but has been intrigued with the prospects of playing in Istanbul. After controversial exits with his last three franchises – Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia – Iverson exhausted interest from NBA teams. Despite averaging 26.7 points in his 14-year NBA career, Iverson ran out of opportunities in the league.

Iverson’s still vibrant fan base here at home isn’t particularly pleased that they won’t see him finish his career wearing the uniform of some NBA team.

But the market has spoken and no one was willing to bite on Iverson having two quality years left in his tank, in whatever capacity he could be used in at this late stage of his surefire Hall of Fame career.

The cable bill here at the hideout is already off the charts. And we’re not even sure there is a way to get whatever channel shows Turkish league games. But we’re going to try. We’d love to see what A.I. looks like over there.