Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Besiktas' president to travel to the US for Iverson

Istanbul (CNN) -- The president of Turkey's Besiktas basketball team says he has a verbal agreement to sign a $2 million contract with former NBA most valuable player Allen Iverson.

"I'm going to New York on Friday," said Seref Yalcin, the president of the Besiktas basketball team. "I talked to Allen and his manager yesterday, Gary Moore. He said there's no problem; he's able to sign. Friday, I'll be there, and we'll probably sign Sunday. And Monday, I'll bring him with me."

Yalcin said he was offering the former NBA star $1.5 million in addition to a half-million dollar signing bonus for a two-year contract.

"This is a major advertisement for Turkish basketball. Besiktas' value as a brand has increased. Everyone is talking about this and Besiktas," Yalcin said.

The Besiktas president predicted that Iverson would take his team to the top of Turkey's Champions League. "He's going to bring lots of fans into our arena," Yalcin said. "If he plays with even 50 percent of his NBA capacity, that will be enough. This will also be good for Turkish basketball in general since he will inspire the youngsters here."

Yalcin said he has offered Iverson housing, transport, school for his five children and an assistant/translator who will be on call 24 hours a day to help the American athlete operate in Turkey's sprawling commercial capital. Yalcin predicted that Iverson would be able to play with Besiktas in a game scheduled for November 7. The Turkish basketball season has just begun, and Besiktas has a record of one win and one loss. Iverson joined the NBA in 1996 and played 10 seasons in Philadelphia before moving among Denver, Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia again.

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