With New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams looking like he's heading to Allen Iversons old team in Turkey during the lockout, does this mean that other big star NBA players will follow suit?
Well, it's been quite an active first week of the NBA lockout. With the owners claims of financial peril being disputed from just about everywhere. Followed by league rebuttals. That was followed by rebuttals to the league rebuttals. Then yesterday we received news that New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams inked a monthly contract (reportedly paid by sponsors) worth $200,000 each month with team Besiktas of Turkey.
Trust me when I say that this completely came out of left field. Count me among the many who believed that no star players would choose Europe as a viable option during the lockout. Consider this, Besiktas of Turkey is touting this signing and saying they will go after the big Kahuna himself - Kobe Bryant - to pair with Deron Williams (imagine that pairing in the NBA...scary). There's implications beyond just a star player choosing to go to Europe during a lockout. I'd say you must consider that Deron Williams is the first...followed by whom?
Reports already surfaced after the D-Will signing that Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are considering Europe as an option. The Nuggets own Danilo Gallinari is said to be interested in playing for Italy during the lockout. However, once Kobe goes (if he decides to) the floodgates will open and NBA players from all income brackets will look to sign with European teams.
What does this mean?
I'm not entirely sure. While the players would gain a considerable amount of leverage by maintaining a paycheck through the lockout, although it's not guaranteed the world governing body of basketball FIBA (International Basketball Federation) will grant these temporary contracts. The stars also risk injury and these European teams will have a hard time ponying up for insurance for these marquee players. Very expensive. However, on the plus side these Euro teams will most likely get exposure they would have never received otherwise.
On the lockout side ... the owners have to be sweating just a bit. I'm quite certain they had a similar thought to me that the star players will just attempt to ride out the lockout and the lower to mid level players will take the plunge. With Williams signing in Turkey the whole game of the lockout has been dramatically changed. Every move from here on out get's more and more serious. The NBA may choose legal action to stop players from making the move to Europe, however, as David Stern said last month - there's very little that can be done to prevent players from taking their talents to Turkey. This is the reality of NBA marketing and by opening up the league to markets all around the world they league gave players the perfect "summer job".
One with the links!
Reports: Deron Williams headed to Turkey - Matt Moore, CBS Sports.com
Deron Williams wants to play in Istanbul (not Constantinople)
Kobe willing to hear foreign offers - Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports
The bell-weather of the whole "going overseas" movement remains Kobe Bryant. If Bryant chooses to sign in Europe (Italy for instance) the floodgates of player departures will begin.
NBA Lockout: Have the Owners Spent Themselves into this Mess? - Tom Ziller, SB Nation
SB Nation's Tom Ziller asks if the NBA's problems are self-created.
Audited Numbers Show NBA lost over 1.5 billion over last 5 years - Maury Brown, Forbes.com
Forbes magazine determines NBA lost tons of money over the last 5 seasons, but has serious questions about three audited numbers submitted by the NBA.
Devil is in the details: How Berger's salary cap would work - Ken Berger, CBS Sports.com
CBS's Ken Berger trys his hand a curing the NBA's lockout woes.
Golden Nuggets Bonus! Song of the week...
It's been awhile since I plugged in a tune for you all. Here's one that I haven't heard for quite awhile. Enjoy!
Onyx - Slam (via OnyxVEVO)