As the NBA lockout continues and players and fans alike ponder what will ultimately come of the season, teams have begun to see their players, at the very least, negotiate (if not already sign) with various overseas teams as they seek out places to play.
The question remains whether or not there is enough legitimacy to these negotiations for NBA teams to be concerned. How many players will pickup, pack their bags, and venture overseas simply for a place to play?
It really comes down to the level of passion and need for a competitive atmosphere. While NBA players won’t get paid during the lockout, the compensation they would receive playing for international squads is nothing compared to what they earn in the NBA.
As Alan Hahn notes
, role players, such as the Knicks’ own Toney Douglas
and Landry Fields
, only make closer to (or less than) $1 million per season while still under rookie contracts in the NBA, so the transition into international ball, even if for the duration of a full NBA season, is likely not worth it for them.
Having said that, the league’s marquee stars are still certain to be sought out by international teams. The Nets’ Deron Williams was of course the first “star” to sign internationally
(in Turkey), but the all-star, who was scheduled to make over $16 million next season, will reportedly earn only $5 million with Besiktas.
Williams cited the chance to experience life overseas and the need/obligation to support his family financially as the top reasons for him signing the one year pact with Besiktas. At the same token, two of the Knicks’ better players, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, also just so happen to be dedicated family men. However, Anthony obviously was quite persistent in pushing for a trade to the Knicks this past season so that he could in fact be closer to his family in New York. Furthermore, Billups had a hard enough time departing Denver and leaving his own family in order to play for the Knicks.
Aside from the fact that Billups just recently has been cleared
to resume basketball activities, it’s unlikely he would go much further from his family. Though Anthony recently took a tour of China with the Jordan Brand and said he wouldn’t mind playing there, one could believe his family and high profile celebrity status are likely to keep him closer to home too.
The Knicks’ other marquee star, Amar’e Stoudemire, has actually admitted to receiving interest from international teams as well, but acquiring insurance for such a contract remains a huge obstacle.
For now, it appears the Knicks need not be worried about seeing any of its players take their talents overseas. Even if the majority of the NBA’s top players continue to receive international interest, it’s unlikely a large number of them bite the bait given all of the other hurdles they would face through the transition.
Aside from the that, the rest of the league’s players will still left without jobs. The threat of players joining teams overseas should not be a huge cause for concern for NBA clubs like the Knicks just yet.