The news that New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams could be set to join Turkey’s Besiktas came as a bit of a shock. Here’s a player, one of the best point guards in the NBA, who is jumping shores and leaving the NBA because of the lockout. Is Deron an exception, or are we set to see more All-Stars depart for Europe in the next few months?
The reports are that Williams is set to sign a 1-year, $5 million deal with Besiktas, that has an opt-out clause in it, where Deron can go back to the NBA when the lockout ends, whenever that may be. Williams will join Allen Iverson in Turkey, and possibly Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, according to reports.
The reason that Williams, and other NBA players, could depart for Europe is because of the lockout. The owners and the players union are locked into discussions and have failed to agree on anything so far.
To sum it up, the owners want the players to accept a 33% pay cut (at least) and want the salary cap to come down, with the prospect of a hard cap coming to the NBA, as they are fed up with losing money. The players meanwhile, want it to stay like it is, as they get around 67% of the total revenue, and don’t want to take a massive pay cut.
Until they agree, it means no games, no practice, no trades, no one gets paid and no contact is allowed to be made between players and staff. Because of this, several players have expressed a desire to play in Europe for the next year, or at least until the lockout ends. The likes of Nenad Kristic have already moved (Kristic left the Boston Celtics to join Russian side CSKA Moscow), and I can see the fringe players – the ones without the multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts and the sponsorship deals – being the ones to bite and move to Europe.
It’s hard to predict how many NBA players will leave and go to Europe, without knowing how long the lockout will last. If it’s a year and a full season is missed, players may play elsewhere, but the Euroleague is not set up financially to encorporate NBA superstars and their huge wages. Deron Williams for $5 million is one thing, but European teams can’t afford to pay huge sums of money it would take to get the Kobe’s, Lebron’s, Dirk’s and Wade’s to go over, unless they play for next to nothing for a few months.
What do you think – could several NBA players follow Deron Williams’ lead?
Allen Iverson will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest little men to ever play in the NBA, and a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But there is no doubt that the 11 time All Star and four time scoring champion’s decline has been meteoric.
Iverson’s decline began in his disastrous stint in Detroit with the Pistons, where he was criticised for refusing to come off the bench, and his arrival saw the team slide from Eastern Conference contenders to first-round whipping-boys, as Lebron James and Cleveland made short work of the Pistons. It wasn’t all Iverson’s fault, but it didn’t help his situation in free agency last summer, when no one wanted anything to do with the 34 year old guard.
Eventually Memphis stepped in, but we all know how pear-shaped that union went. Three games, constant moaning by Iverson about having to come off the bench and a leave of absence for personal issues, saw Iverson waived by Memphis.
In December, Iverson re-signed with the Sixers, and I believed he could help the team push for the playoffs. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as the Sixers stink this season, and have currently lost five straight, after the loss to the Knicks last night. Iverson was released by the Sixers this month, only playing in 25 games for the team, after a series of personal issues and the extended absence from the team, that Iverson had to have to look after his ill daughter.
These personal issues have derailed Iverson’s career and look to threaten his post-basketball well being. ESPN reported last week that Iverson is suffering from gambling and alcohol issues, has been banned from numerous casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, and will “either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away”.
Add to this the impending divorce from his wife and the situation with his daughter, it seems that Iverson’s mind is not on basketball at the moment. But what will happen in the summer? Iverson is a shadow of his former self, there is no doubt about that. But he can still put up points, averaging 13.9 points and 4.1 assists this season for the Sixers.
But the excessive baggage, the non-existent defense and the refusal to come off the bench will cost Iverson dear. No team wanted him before this latest debacle, so it is hard to see who will take a chance on him this summer. He was playing for peanuts in Philadelphia anyway this season ($650,000), so he is great value for money. But it is hard to see who will gamble on the All-Star guard, especially if he refuses to play a reserve role. I hate to say it, but I think Allen Iverson’s career in the NBA is over.
The All-Star reserves are not set to be announced until tonight, but Yahoo! sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and Mark J. Spears have revealed who will be making the trip to Dallas for the ASG in February. According to them, the West and East reserves are:
Rajon Rondo (Celtics)
Derrick Rose (Bulls)
Paul Pierce (Celtics)
Chris Bosh (Raptors)
Gerald Wallace (Bobcats)
Joe Johnson (Hawks)
Al Horford (Hawks)
Deron Williams (Jazz)
Chris Paul (Hornets)
Pau Gasol (Lakers)
Kevin Durant (Thunder)
Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)
Brandon Roy (Blazers)
If you remember when the ASG ballots where announced a few months ago, I made my predictions on who would make this year’s All-Star team. I didn’t bank on Allen Iverson securing a starting spot on the East, mainly because of the trouble Iverson had in Memphis and the fact that A.I isn’t exactly putting up All-Star numbers (14.2 ppg, 4.4 apg). A.I’s place as a starter has recieved intense criticsm from the media, but the All Star game is for the fans and if the fans want to see Iverson play then you can’t complain. Obviously no one could have forseen the circumstances in Washingon with Gilbert Arenas (who today was banned for the season along with Javaris Crittendon after both were indicted on felony charges). Shaq’s production in Cleveland (11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is what let him down, and Danny Granger’s affection towards the treatment table are what excluded them from places on the East’s roster.
So who are notable snubs from this year’s teams? Mo Williams, Danny Granger, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Ray Allen and David West do not return after making last year’s team, although none of them actually deserved a place on this year’s roster. Gerald Wallace’s impressive form for the Bobcats guarantees him a place, as does Zach Randolph, who is working wonders in Memphis this year, averaging 21 points and over 11 boards a game. Z-Bo has always been a 20-10 guy, but has managed to actually help the Grizzlies instead of hindering them this season.
I thought Chauncey Billups should have had a place on the West. Averaging 19 points and 6 assists this season, he is deserving of a spot and is as, if not more, important than ‘Melo for the Nuggets. But Billups omission does give a well-deserved place to Deron Williams, who makes his first All- Star appearance in what has been a couple of years overdue.
David Lee is another player who should be in Dallas. Averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds, Lee is excelling for a woeful Knicks team and should have been picked over Al Horford as the reserve center. The Hawks are doing well, and Horford is one for the future, along with Nets’ center Brook Lopez, but Lee is deserving of a spot on the East team.
I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association. I always thought that when I left the game, it would be because I couldn’t help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However, that is not the case.