Listen folks, Kobe could play in Turkey for $1 million a month (that's what he asked for. The Turkish team that wants him wants to pay him $500,000 a month.) I mean, no one in their right mind would say no to that just on the face of it. It would be plain insanity to say no even if you are as rich as Kobe. Plus, it makes sense from a business perspective for Turkey.
He's the face of Turkish Airlines. He's the best player in the world. We get all that. The only problem is that he's too damned old to playing in Turkey. It's almost as if he asked for $1 million a month so the Turkish team would back off. Moreover, if he's getting paid $1 million a month, and the Turkish team needs a new sponsor, he can do as he pleases.
So, we'll say that he might "play" in Turkey, but it had better be the lowest-impact version of "play" we've ever seen. I want to see fourth-quarter-LeBron-effort from Kobe in Turkey. (That is to say, no effort at all.)
Make a few cool plays, dunk in somebody's face, and go sit on the bench. Come out two minutes later and do that again. Otherwise, there are going to be unnecessary miles put on those legs that are already old. The Lakers need him to last until he's 38 so he can hand the team off gracefully to a younger star like, I don't know, Dwight Howard.
Kobe and I are the same age, and if I had a chance to get this time off, at my age, I'd take it. I wouldn't mind $1 million a month either, but you get the idea. The Lakers, their fans, and the league can ill afford for him to suddenly put extra miles on his tires that he wasn't going to get otherwise.
The good news about this is that Kobe is not a dumbass. He knows he can't really make things worse and accelerate his aging process, but he knows how to play half-speed. The Lakers do it for half a season or more every year. So, if he just does that it won't be a big deal.
That's why I say "play" in quotes, because, he'll be *air quotes* playing--NOT, actually playing.
Now, does that means that I still won't be concerned if he actually goes over there? Of course I'll be concerned. An idiot would be unconcerned. He's the best player in the league. He's our only shot, right now, at winning more titles, and Dwight Howard is not coming to LA to NOT play with Kobe.
People have broken their wrists swinging golf clubs. So, I don't think it's unreasonable to worry every moment that one of his knees will fall off accidentally when some big Turkish dude accidentally lands on one of them as they all come down around the basket. That's the last thing anybody needs.
So, while Turkish waits for real effort from Kobe, I'll be sitting here trying to grow a tail. We'll both be unsuccessful, but it will be a fun exercise (provided Kobe comes back in one piece.)