It’s certainly a lot easier for current NBA free agents (as opposed to those players under contract) to explore various opportunities overseas as the lockout continues.
According to Alan Hahn, that’s exactly what Roger Mason Jr., who spent last season donning orange and blue, is considering.
Mason Jr. got off to a slow start last season, struggling to get into a groove on the court after receiving limited and/or sporadic minutes. It wasn’t until the Carmelo Anthony trade that he began to move into the rotation. Even so, he has continued to express that he is interested in returning to New York for a redeeming second season.
Though with the lockout likely delaying that chance, Mason Jr. is in talks to join Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he previously played for in 2005-06.
He went on to tell Hahn, “I can get myself ready for the season in a training camp, in a structured situation, and put money in my pocket.”
Some may consider Mason Jr., a Vice President of the Players Union, thinking about playing overseas to be concerning. As a VP, he obviously knows the ins and outs of negotiations, so should he venturing to play elsewhere be considered aborting ship? Should other players take note?
Not exactly. It seems as though Mason Jr. is just being realistic. The lockout is obviously here, and it doesn’t appear to be ending in the near future, so the league is likely to have a delayed training camp and perhaps miss a few games, to say the least. Mason Jr. expressed his rational, posing a question to Hahn, “Do I want to just stay out here in L.A. and play pickup? Or do I want to go into a structured situation in a beautiful country?”
Mason Jr. is sure to have an NBA out for when the lockout comes to a close, so as a free agent, this seems like the best move he could make at this point if he wants to play.
Speaking of playing pickup ball in Los Angeles, he tweeted earlier this week that he was enjoying playing with many members of the Clippers.
I for one would like to see Mason Jr. back in a Knicks uniform whenever next season begins. His slow start caused him to get a bad rap early on. He’s a solid three point shooter, and if he is given a chance to play some consistent minutes, he should be able to make an impact off the bench. Aside from that, he’s a great locker room guy, so he definitely has definitely has value both on and off the court.