As more and more NBA players explore opportunities overseas during the lockout, they may find leagues less willing to take on short-term superstars.
Turkish club Besiktas seems to have hit a dead end with Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, but they appear close to securing a deal with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Durant’s agent Aaron Goodwin told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he has met with team officials about signing his client. Apparently Besiktas, which has already inked a deal with New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, will turn to Durant if they can’t lure Bryant.
"The Turkish option is very intriguing," Goodwin said. "We're looking at other countries as well. Kevin hasn't agreed to play anywhere yet, but we're looking for the best fit."
Durant, like several other NBA players, is looking to take his talents abroad during the NBA lockout that many fear could last the entire 2011-12 season. Williams was among the first to express interest in playing overseas and now players like Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Dallas Maverick forward Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Lakers forward Ron Artest are the latest looking to explore their overseas opportunities whether it be Turkey, China or Europe.
"I'm going to play basketball this year,” Wade told the Associated Press. “I don't know where, but I love the game so much that I will play it. And we will figure that out."
But opportunities may soon begin to dry up overseas for NBA players. The Euroleague has told SI.com that it isn’t sure a lot of its teams will stock their rosters with short-term NBA players and apparently the Chinese Basketball Association has the same approach. While the NBA superstars might make a splash, it’s unlikely it would be long term.
Most NBA players are only interested in playing elsewhere as long as the lockout is going, so they are seeking opt-out clauses in their deals.
"Our clubs need to have stable rosters," Euroleague President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. "They need to know how long they will be able to employ the player. No team will sign a player for only two or three months, or for an uncertain period of time."
(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)