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?