*Allen Iverson may be headed to the Middle East.
After split-second runs with the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers last season, the former NBA star is reportedly close to signing with Turkish team Besiktas Cola Turka.
The one-season deal could net Iverson as much as $2 million, Yahoo! Sports has reported, citing unnamed sources.
“We are in very serious negotiations with [Besiktas],” Iverson’s manager Gary Moore told Yahoo! Sports. “Istanbul is beautiful from everything we’ve learned. It’s not that far from the U.S., and the competition is good, which makes it all attractive.
“Allen wants to play basketball.”
Besiktas coach Burak Biyiktay confirmed that the Istanbul-based club has offered Iverson a one-year contract, telling The Associated Press that the former NBA MVP would bring a “new vision to the team.”
“Iverson is a great trademark and would be the biggest name to come to Turkey,” Biyiktay said.
One hangup in the agreement over the weekend had been Iverson’s insistence on a limit for what the team can fine him, the Yahoo! Sports report says. Iverson sought a cap of less than 1 percent of a $1.5 million salary for each fine, the report said, citing a European source. Iverson on Monday was sent a contract Besiktas was hoping to get signed by the end of the week. But the deal was expected to take as long as 10 days to be completed, Yahoo! Sports reported.
Besiktas is among the top teams in Turkey’s first division, which starts play this weekend. But Besiktas has run into problems financially, Yahoo! Sports reported, citing Eurobasket.com. The team has recently been sued by American player Lonnie Baxter and his agent to recover salary and fees, according to the report.
Iverson has also been negotiating with a team in China. Moore told The Associated Press those talks aren’t dead, but Turkey may be the best option with Besiktas about to start its season. Moore said he has yet to hear from an NBA team. “He wants to play there again, hopefully,” Moore said.
Iverson played three games for Memphis last season before he returned for a second stint with the 76ers. He averaged 13.9 points for the Sixers before he took a leave of absence in March because of family issues.