A report from Turkish television early Wednesday said Deron Williams will soon sign with Besiktas Cola Turka of Istanbul, the same club that signed and then dropped Allen Iverson last season. Marc Stein and the New York Times both confirmed the report later Wednesday. No word yet from Williams or his Facebook page.
Ken Berger reports that the Nets were unaware of Besiktas' offer. Williams had said before the lockout that he might be interested in playing overseas if negotiations to achieve a new CBA failed. ESPN reported D-Will will be paid $5 million and will be free to rejoin the Nets once the lockout ended. He'll also be provided a personal assistant, driver and security guard available 24/7 and be won't have to report to Besiktas until August or September.
Besiktas' coach, Ergin Ataman, was quoted by NTV Spor as saying, "We are in talks with Williams. He is a bigger star than Iverson and would be the best player in Europe.We are are close to an agreement." According to the coach, the team is also close to agreeing in principle with Zaza Pachulia. A team official later tweeted in Turkish that "Deron Williams has agreed" while another confirmed Pachulia has indeed agreed to sign as well.
Besiktas is viewed as a lower level Turkish team. It plays in the Turkish league but not the Euroleague. Its signing of Iverson was seen as a way of bumping up its profile in Europe. Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nets second round pick, will play in Turkey this season for Fenerbahce, the country's top team.
Williams will have to obtain a clearance from FIBA, the international basketball federation, permitting him to play in Europe while still under contract with the Nets. If the Nets or NBA challenges that, the players union has said it will sue. Also, there is the question of insurance: who will pay the premium required to indemnify him against career ending injuries.
- Sources: Deron Williams to play in Turkey if lockout continues - Marc Stein - ESPN
- Deron Williams Reaches Deal to Play in Turkey - Howard Beck - New York Times
- Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia Besiktas move (Google Translate) - NTV Spor
Deron Williams, very close to Eagle (Google Translate) - Fanatik
- Besiktas agreed to terms with Deron Williams? - Sportando
Deron Williams agrees with Besiktas - Talk Basket
- Deron Williams follows Iverson, agrees to play for Besiktas - National Turk
Report: Deron Williams signed in Turkey? Not buying that - Kurt Helin - NBC Sports
- Deron Williams Agreed to Play in Turkey During NBA Lockout? - Marcel Mutoni - SLAM
- Deron Williams Signs With Besiktas In Turkey, According To Turkish TV Report - Tom Ziller - SB Nation
Deron Williams To Make $200K Per Month With Besiktas Of Turkey - Andy Hutchins - SB Nation
Deron Williams heading to Turkey? - Mark J. Miller - Yahoo! Sports
- Nets’ Williams taking his talents to Turkey? - Zach Lowe - SI.com
- Reports: Deron Williams headed to Turkey - Matt Moore & Ben Golliver - CBS Sports
- Deron Williams to play in Turkey during NBA lockout - Colin Stephenson - Star-Ledger
- Report: Nets' Deron Williams to play in Turkey if long lockout - Al Iannazzone - The Record
Deron planning to play in Turkey - Al Iannazzone - In the 'Zzone
- Deron Williams' Potential New Team In Turkey To Begin Play In Late September With Eurocup Qualifier - Scott Schroeder - SB Nation