SALT LAKE CITY According to news outlets, former Jazz point guard Deron Williams plans to spend the NBA lockout playing in Turkey. Williams, along with Atlantas Zaza Pachulia, would join Besiktas at the end of August or early September but his contract would allow an immediate return to the NBA if the labor dispute is solved.
Ergin Ataman, coach for Besiktas, confirmed the contract Thursday with the New York Times in a phone interview. Allen Iverson played last season with the same team but Williams, a two time All-Star and one of the best scoring and assist players in the league, would likely be the highest profile NBA player ever featured overseas. Ataman told the Times the deal would become official in the next 24 hours and the team's owner would hold a press conference with Williams next week to make a formal announcement.
Turkish television station, NTV Spor broke the news and ESPN's Ric Bucher confirmed it with Williams' agent, Jeff Schwartz.
Williams was traded from Utah to New Jersey last season and it is no secret the Nets hope to feature the guard as its foundation by re-signing him to a long-term contract after his current one expires in one more season. Williams averaged 20.1 points and 10.3 assists per game last season. He was drafted by the Jazz with the No. 3 pick in the 2005 draft.