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View Full Version : NBA stars may play in Europe next season



fadedmario
02-01-2011, 08:15 PM
Imagine this: NBA players flooding international leagues next season. Superstars and their celestial brethren driving to the hoop in teams throughout Europe. Kobe Bryant at Besiktas in Turkey. LeBron James at Panathinaikos in Greece. Dwyane Wade at Barcelona in Spain.

Could it happen? Absolutely.

Will it happen? As they used to say before the commercial breaks on American television, stay tuned.

The scenario that makes it possible is the expiring contract between the players' union and the league. A new collective bargaining agreement must be reached before the NBA can play next season.

The league is taking a hard stance in negotiations: it wants salaries cut by as much as 40 per cent. No one is predicting an easy or quick settlement. And if there is no agreement before the start of next season, the NBA is expected to lock out players.

Which leaves them where? Possibly taking their talents overseas.

Brandon Jennings, the Milwaukee Bucks guard who played a season in Italy before he reached the NBA's minimum age of 19, told NBA.com he would not hesitate to return to Europe during a work stoppage.

"Oh yeah, of course I wouldn't mind going back overseas," he said. "I've been almost everywhere overseas and I lived in Italy for a year. I know what type of game it is and I know what it's about."

Jennings is not the only NBA player quietly considering the option of playing internationally in the event of a lockout. And the longer the lockout, the more cheques missed, the greater the likelihood that more NBA players will seek a European payday.

The NBA knows this, of course, but is not ready to publicly acknowledge the idea of its players fleeing for jobs across the oceans.

"No comments" rule the day. At the moment, every statement is another facet of negotiating strategy and, a potential lockout is, after all, more than six months away.

Yet the concern is growing and teams want direction from the league on how to handle questions on the possibility of their players heading across the Atlantic should arena gates be closed. They want to be able to plan beyond June.

It is all new, unsettled ground. The National Basketball Players Association is developing a plan to deal with the conflicts and legal issues.

What happens to existing players' contracts during a lockout? Are they nullified until a new agreement is reached? Are they suddenly in force again afterward?

Ultimately, it would seem legally difficult for the league to prevent a player from earning a living if the NBA is not offering one.

Other issues: Fiba, the international basketball federation, and the NBA have agreed not to sign a player under contract to the other. What happens to a player's contract if he is seriously injured overseas?

More questions than answers, yes. But they are intriguing questions.

Brandon Jennings was the first “big” name to claim he’d play overseas during the seemingly-inevitable lockout next season, and now Dirk says he’d do the same. Thing is, though, it won’t be easy at all for NBA players to play in other leagues. From the NY Times (via The Bild): “More N.B.A. players are starting to look abroad for playing opportunities, exploring options for next season if there is a lockout. Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, who hails from Germany, has told German newspaper The Bild that he will likely come home to play if the N.B.A. is shut down. Similar remarks were made two weeks ago by Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who said he will probably go back to his native Russia to play during a lockout. ‘Instead of doing nothing for a year, I will come to Germany,’ Nowitzki said in German. According to N.B.A. cap guru Larry Coon via a ProBasketballTalk.com post, however, he won’t be allowed to because of international transfer rules that prohibit players under contract in one league from playing in another.”

Thoughts?

PurpleJesus
02-01-2011, 08:23 PM
i'm thinking if a new cba is not reached, some players will be happy to take some time off rather than going to a foreign country to play.
It would be exciting to see a mix of NBA superstars playing with Europe's best

Sly Guy
02-01-2011, 08:27 PM
I'd like to see it myself. I can't think of a better way to actually generate legitimate interest in basketball overseas then to have them play there.....if only temporarily.

RZZZA
02-01-2011, 08:29 PM
I'd like to see it myself. I can't think of a better way to actually generate legitimate interest in basketball overseas then to have them play there.....if only temporarily.

you mean there isn't already legitimate interest in basketball overseas?

I'd venture to say that Europeans care more about the NBA than they do their own European leagues

Sly Guy
02-01-2011, 08:35 PM
you mean there isn't already legitimate interest in basketball overseas?

I'd venture to say that Europeans care more about the NBA than they do their own European leagues

maybe so, but you still don't see arenas of 20,000 people filled in Europe to watch their teams play. Nor do you see the wealth of jersey sales or TV ratings pouring in from watching either euroleague or NBA games. Let alone markets in Asia, Africa, or South America. Plenty of room for the game to grow, but casual fans want to see the best, and in a lockout year it might be their best shot to see it.

Unfortunately, I don't see many going overseas should a lockout occur. The way I see it, most players will wait, hoping that a shortened season might be possible. The players know what side of the pond their bread is buttered on.

Mudvayne91
02-01-2011, 08:56 PM
Where's Hell Crooner when you need him?

superkegger
02-01-2011, 09:23 PM
I doubt big time stars would. Maybe some lower tier guys like when Childress went, but not big names, They'll still make big bucks under the new CBA