Some NBA players just might look at playing overseas, beginning in the fall, if there are no signs that the owner-mandated lockout is ending.
Apparently All-Star point guard Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets has worked out a deal to go play for Turkey's Besiktas team for a season if the lockout isn’t settled. Williams would make $5 million for one season, ESPN is reporting. Besiktas is the team that employed an aging Allen Iverson for a while this past season, but certainly would be upgrading its talent with Williams.
Williams' agent Jeff Schwartz confirmed the report Thursday. It seems that overseas teams may be salivating at the chance to take advantage of the NBA labor strife, if only on a temporary basis. Besiktas has already reached an agreement with Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia.
"If there's a possibility, we'll talk with Kobe [Bryant] if he'd like to play in Europe with Deron and with other guys to play we can talk with him," Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman said to the New York Times. "If Kobe would like to play with us, we will also contact his agent and maybe with him."
According to the report, the deal with Williams could become official within the next 24 hours. That would seem farfetched and not wise on the part of Williams. There is obviously little reason to rush.
Williams will be among one of the most sought-after free agents next season, but in the meantime will be a major addition to the improving New Jersey Nets once the lockout ends. The concern is that the entire season could be lost because of the major differences between the NBA owners and the players' union.
The threat of its players going overseas and playing could convince the NBA to bend a little on some of the extreme concessions they seem to be asking the players to make. Should be interesting.
(Photo: Warren Little/Getty)