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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nets star close to playing in Turkey


Ankara — Turkish basketball team Besiktas said it is close to reaching a deal with locked out NBA All-Star point guard Deron Williams.

Besiktas manager Murat Murtezaoglu said Thursday that talks are under way with the New Jersey Nets player and U.S. Olympian. The state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Beskitas coach Ergin Ataman as saying that a deal was close. The New York Times reported that Ataman said an agreement had been reached. Jeff Schwartz, Williams' agent, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The Nets were not able to comment because the NBA has told teams not to comment on players during the lockout, which the owners initiated last week after the old collective bargaining agreement expired.

Ataman said, "Our negotiations with this player are continuing. If he does come, it would be an even greater transfer than that of Allen Iverson."

Iverson, the NBA's MVP in 2001, joined Besiktas last season after no NBA team offered him a contract. His time in the Turkish Basketball League was cut short due to injury.

Williams, who the Nets acquired in February in a stunning trade with the Utah Jazz, was supposed to earn $16.36 million with New Jersey next season.

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