If your passionate pursuit of all things basketball oriented are a few days behind, you are probably waking up today to learn that Deron Williams, arguably one of the top three point guards in the NBA, has agreed in principle to join the Turkish team Besiktas if the NBA labor situation has not been resolved by the beginning of next season. The deal is reported to be a one year contract for $5 million (presumably in USD and not Turkish Lira). I think this move by Williams has the potential to cause a ripple effect through the league, because he is a franchise-building kind of player and he is essentially buying insurance for himself (he is the collateral) if an agreement is not soon reached. It's a gutsy move by Williams, but I can't help but smile at its brashness in fighting for negotiating leverage, both from the Nets and the league.
Players under contract like Williams would typically need a letter of clearance from FIBA -- the sport's world governing body -- to play anywhere else. But the NBA Players Association has privately maintained for months that it intends to legally challenge any attempt by the NBA or FIBA to block a player such as Williams from playing elsewhere while the NBA has imposed a work stoppage.
The Turkish team Williams may be heading to is also chasing after some other big fish, namely Kobe Bryant.
Amick asks the question as to whether other NBA players might jump overseas, and postulates that WIlliams' move is not just in seeking an opportunity, but also is a byproduct of his contractual situation.
Abbott lists off the advantages that Williams has gained by signing in principle to play overseas if there is no season.
Stephen A. Smith takes the position that Williams' move is selfish and detrimental to the NBPA's efforts at uniformity. His argument is worth considering, but I think he omits one key aspect, which is that the owners won the 1998 lockout in part because they bled a lot of players dry. One of the revelations in 1998 was how many "rich" players actually live paycheck to paycheck. What Williams' move (and perhaps others who follow) does is remove that attrition leverage.
More links after the jump.
Young has been getting pestered over the "rumor" that the Lakers are trying to trade Andrew Bynum to the Thunder for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, and he does his best to put an end to it. I feel stupid for even typing that rumor.
Lowe examines some of the legal ramifications involved with a player who is under an NBA contract seeking to jump overseas.
Give a listen to the HoopSpeak podcast, where Mason and the gang talk about the labor situation and the potential for more players to jump to Europe.
While I and many others continue to be skeptical over the NBA's position that their basketball operations are fundamentally flawed, comments like this one from the NBPA are horrendously misplaced and the NBA spokesman Mike Bass rightly takes him to the shed over it.
"In 2009-10, the NBA repeatedly offered projections that league revenues would decline as much as 5 percent, or $180 million, while also projecting losses of $370 million. Revenues were actually up in '09-10 and the revenue projections were off by as much as $200 million. Yet, the loss figures were only adjusted by $30 million. So yes, we feel there is more than adequate basis for questioning their projections and financials" - NBPA spokesman Dan Wasserman
What an idiotic statement to make - it basically signals to the world that the NBPA doesn't know the difference between projections and final audits.
If you weren't convinced already, here is another reason why Pruiti's basketball jones runs deeper than most of us. If you're interested in following the Euroleague games at all, he does a great job helping us understand how the whole thing is set up.
Here is a casual interview with Kevin Durant to talk about his life, his summer camp, and why he loves OKC.
"I just love the people more than anything. Just how nice and humble they are. They do a great job of making me feel at home and making everyone feel at home. I just love the atmosphere, especially when we're playing basketball, just the college feel it has. I build relationships with the fans that come to every game, season ticket holders, and I just feel like it's a place that fits me." - Kevin Durant
Coach Nick gets a great sit-down interview with Lakers coach Bill Bertka. Bertka proves to be an excellent source of NBA history, talking about the evolution of the game and his place in it.
The Cavaliers have purchased the New Mexico Thunderbirds, making them the 5th team to wholly own and operate their own D-League team. As such, they retain complete control over all basketball elements of the franchise. The Thunder are also in this category of owning their own team (Tulsa 66ers), and we have seen OKC use this avenue repeatedly with their younsters, particularly with Cole Aldrich and Byron Mullens.
The WoW guys are undeterred in their commitment to keep us thinking about basketball, at least in the peripheral sense. They were not big fans of the Wizards on draft night.
We had previously noted here that one of Michael Jordan's old love letters from high school was unearthed and actually auctioned off. Not surprisingly, the woman herself is none to happy about it. Kudos to her for having such a valuable keepsake and never seeking to profit off of it or try to gain notoriety.