Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks maneuvers a young local player during a basketball clinic in Hong Kong. (Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
It seems almost daily there is a new NBA star adding his name to the growing list of players interested in competing overseas during the lockout this upcoming season.
New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony jumped on board Tuesday, both saying they would welcome an opportunity to play in China during the league’s labor unrest.
NBA stars like Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Durant have all said they are interested in taking their talents overseas if the lockout goes as long many predict it will.
But you have to ask if this is realistic or even a wise decision?
Sure, on one hand it may put pressure on the NBA owners to come to the table with a reasonable offer to the players than the one previously proposed. But it also takes some very pivotal names out of the negotiating room.
Seeing some of the bigger-name stars at the forefront of the last NBA work stoppage in 1998-99 likely helped get a deal done. But should some of the biggest names in the game today have their focus elsewhere during critical negotiation times, some of the players' leverage could be lost.
Quite frankly, the salary cuts being proposed are less likely to affect stars like Bryant, Anthony and Howard than they would mid-level players. These superstars need to be there at the table for their teammates and role players.
Otherwise they will seem like the selfish and spoiled few as they have been portrayed and almost certainly public perception will turn against them. Even worse, they could return to teams that have been depleted due to a more restrictive and smaller salary cap.