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Deron Williams To Sign With Besiktas, Low-Level Istanbul Team, If Lockout Continues Through Summer

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.