Deron Williams’ surprising decision to play in Turkey during the NBA’s lockout was an eye-opener for other stars.
And even though it’s unlikely that we’ll see a large amount of NBA players temporarily jump over to the Euroleague, some marquee names reportedly are very curious about the idea (and international teams will not hesitate to recruit them.)
According to Roger Mason Jr., VP of the players’ union, superstars like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Amar’e Stoudemire are keeping all possible options open during the work stoppage.
Roger Mason Jr. said his cell phone was blowing up when the news broke about Deron Williams’ agreement to play in Turkey next season if the NBA lockout isn’t resolved by September. While the Nets can only stand by helplessly as their cornerstone — who has an opt-out in 2012 — trots off to Turkey, the Knicks can’t do anything about it, either, if Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire have a similar interest in playing overseas.
Mason Jr., a vice president with the players’ union, told us [Thursday] that both Knicks stars have contacted him about Williams’ situation and inquired about the rules and insurance information. Would the Knicks’ biggest stars really consider going over to Europe if the NBA season is compromised?
“I can see anybody doing it,” said Mason Jr. said. “This is what people have to understand. It’s definitely about earning a living, but we’ve already been so blessed, a lot of guys love the game and want to be able to compete . . . I’ve talked to a lot of the star players, Chris Paul, Amar’e, Melo, I think that those guys are open-minded to everything.“
It may prove impossible for Amar’e to seriously consider the overseas option — in fact, Stoudemire’s agent flatly denied that it’s even a consideration — due to a host of injury and insurance concerns stemming from his retina and microfracture knee surgeries in ’05.
It remains to be seen which other big NBA names will follow Deron Williams’ lead, and what kind of pressure this would put on team owners to quickly reach a deal to end the lockout. The only certainty is that the chess match between players and their bosses has truly begun, with DWill having made the first move.