We’re now three weeks in to the lockout, and the NBA is losing players left and right. First it was bench bros like Darius Songaila and Nenad Krstic. Then Deron Williams became the first big name guy to sign a contract with a European team. Now, Kobe Bryant’s in talks to sign with the same team, just so long as they can meet his salary demands. All these defections make a blogger want to move to Europe himself, in order to properly cover this league.
And it might get worse, as one agent basically wants the entire league to play overseas if there’s a lockout. From TrueHoop:
One prominent agent who represents one of league’s top players was completely sold on the idea of players competing for teams in Europe or Asia during the lockout.
He said 80 percent of the players in the league are pursuing, considering, or open to the idea of playing overseas. He said agents aren’t being forthright publicly about their clients’ desires to play overseas because there are only a limited number of opportunities available and they want to keep their negotiations secret. [...]
This agent was so excited about the opportunities overseas that he said this:
“If there’s no agreement in place by September, all of my players will be playing overseas.”
Dang it, lockout. It was fine and dandy when we losing various big men who might have returned home anyway. Now we’ve got one agent trying to send everybody he knows over there. That’s not good, because that’s a lot of guys, and who knows how long European teams are going to allow out clauses in their contracts. Just stop it right now. Get this thing over with so we don’t lose all these guys.
Lucky for us though, a couple big name guys are staying home. LeBron James, for example:
Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are among the superstars who are reportedly willing to consider playing overseas. One superstar who, at least for now, is not looking into playing elsewhere is LeBron James, according to sources.
And Blake Griffin. For now, at least. From The Oklahoman:
“I haven’t really looked into going over there and playing for a team,” Griffin said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “But you never say never. I don’t know what kind of situations are out there. We’ll see how the end of this offseason shapes up, and I’ll probably make a decision from there.”
OK good. At least we still have two exciting players. Oh, and Amar’e Stoudemire is staying put, so that makes three. Plus, Vince Carter wants to stay here, so that also makes three. It’s a start.
But really, get used to hearing “So and So in talks with team overseas” and “What’s His Face considering going to Europe” because we’ve got 400ish players, all of whom need jobs and all of whom like getting pay checks. Either we need to find a way to get them jobs and money — like, I don’t know, ending the lockout maybe — or we just need to get used to the fact that we’re all going to be searching for grainy Internet streams of teams we’ve never heard of, just because we want to see our favorite players. I’m voting for Option A.