Blog Entry

Union backing overseas pursuits

Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 5:05 pm

The NBA players' association disagrees with me over the usefulness of players signing overseas during the lockout. We can differ over how much leverage the strategy provides in collective bargaining, but there's no disputing this notion: Players are pursuing deals overseas with the full backing and encouragement of the union.

The latest subplot of international intrigue came Friday, with word that Bucks guard Keyon Dooling -- a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association -- was close to a deal with the Turkish team Efes Istanbul. Earlier, we learned that none other than Kobe Bryant was scheduled to meet over the weekend with Besiktas, the Turkish team that previously signed Nets guard Deron Williams.

Seref Yalcin, head of basketball operations for Besiktas, told reporters in Turkey this week that there's a "50 percent chance" that Bryant signs with a Turkish team, according to Reuters. Despite the fact that Besiktas' assets are frozen in connection with a soccer match-fixing scandal, Yalcin said, "Money will not be a problem." He cited Turkish Airlines, with whom Bryant has a promotional agreement, and two oil companies as potential sponsors for a contract that could pay Bryant between $500,000 and $1 million a month.

Williams' deal with Besiktas reportedly is for $5 million, with an escape clause to return to the NBA when the lockout ends.

Also on Friday, FIBA -- the governing body of international basketball -- issued a statement saying it will approve the transfer of players under contract with NBA teams to play for FIBA teams during the lockout. NBA officials have been under the impression for months that one risk of imposing a lockout is seeing players find opportunities to play -- and make money -- overseas. Legally, the NBA has no way to stop them, especially now that FIBA is on board.

UPDATE: Later Friday, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter released a statement applauding FIBA's decision.

"The NBPA and our players are gratified by today's announcement by FIBA, although it comes as no surprise," Hunter said. "We have consistently advised our members that in the event of a lockout they would have the right to be compensated for playing basketball irrespective of whether they were under contract to an NBA team or not. We have encouraged all of our players to pursue such opportunities and will continue to do so. In the face of the economic pressure that the NBA has attempted to exert by imposing a lockout, our players are unified and eager to demonstrate that the NBA's tactics will be unsuccessful."

Whether or not significant stars follow Williams to FIBA clubs remains to be seen, but Bryant would be the biggest fish ensnared by the strategy and could pull others along with him. Whether signing overseas provides actual leverage to the union in showing that the NBA isn't the only game in town for locked-out players, or simply illustrates that stars are going to "get theirs" and leave the lockout to the rank and file, is a matter for debate. But there is no questioning where the NBPA stands on this issue: The union has told players it will support, and encourage their efforts to get jobs overseas.

Who will insure the players' current and future NBA earnings against injury while they're globetrotting during the lockout is an issue that every player contemplating such a move has to seriously consider.


Since: Jan 2, 2011
Posted on: August 1, 2011 2:52 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

The nba sucks, go away nobody is gonna miss 9 moths of shitty , one man basketball and all the stupid shit that goes with it.  We thank you for going away...This means that I dont have to see that petulant child LeBron for a long time...good!!!!

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: July 30, 2011 8:39 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

As soon as I saw you on the basketballs, planking of all things, I didn't bother reading.

Awesome. The planking reference is classic! Berger should have the basketballs flying off his head like dodge balls. He's like the guy in gym class everyone picked on because he was weak and annoying.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: July 30, 2011 8:35 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

Wow. All it will take is for one of these guys to get a serious injury. Then his career is in doubt and any owner can easily get out of his deal. The short-term gain, does not make up for the long-term damage that can be done. 

The NBAPA is playing  a dangerous game in backing this risky behavior. Billy Hunter(unlike DeMaurice Smith) is a sharp guy who knows how to negotiate. This flies in the face of logic. In they think this will effect the owners desire to get the players to agree to major concessions, they're wrong. David Stern will turn this into a positive for the owners somehow. If anything, this will just strengthen their resolve.

Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:47 pm


To get the owners to cave in quick, the union should order all players to play overseas for a year.  After milllions in losses from no games, the owners will pay up big time!

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:16 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

I agree with superstar a 100%,the NBA has turned into the worst league in history. I honestly would be happy if they never played another game!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 30, 2011 4:51 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

i cant wait for the nba to fold

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: July 30, 2011 2:10 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

GO, GO, PLEASE GO OVERSEAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and take the Kardashians with u.  Not gonna miss u guys a whole helluva lot, see how long the culture of wherever u go will put up with ur kind of crap, Kobe in a Turkish jail, lets see how he likes gettig raped. Dont get me wrong, love the NBA, just hate the players and Stern has made a joke of the league too. Take a page from arena football, shutdown for a year let everyone go, set a salary structure and if they want to play for it they do, if they dont, then they can eat kimchi for a few years.

Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:28 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

Look I see no problem with it.  You people who are mad at the NBA and say the product is weak also have the option to not watch.  Look this is between greedy owners (surprise) and players and reps.  If the other countries want to borrow the golden goose - then let them.  The old owners of the goose will just want it back and the players would have shown that they can get paid in other places eliminating the monopoly. 

Since: Jun 23, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:41 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

The Players are Spolied. End of Story.

Case in point: 

During the Chicago Draft Combine..Didnt one first round prospect say when ask the question about what he knew about life in the NBA ---- answer with --- "Its Easy Money"

Go ahead and play overseas!!!!

We will watch NCAA Basketball - The nation will fall back in love with "Team Basketball". In a year from now those super stars will have a very diffrent outlook, when they spend a season where 2000 people come to a game and playing on a team who is sponsered by a company that makes Hummas. Ole Ole Ole Ole Ole Ole


Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 3:53 pm

Union backing overseas pursuits

  you must have never played a sport in your life and your analytical ability is nonexistent.

Yeah while the rest of us were watching the playoffs in the Finals we were all thinking "Oh Dirk can't even make a shot" and "none of these guys are caring."  Makes so much sense!

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