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Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 9:00 am  |  64 responses

The NBA on the Defections to Europe: ‘What, Us Worry?’

by Marcel Mutoni

This summer, the League has watched as Josh Childress, Early Boykins, Carlos Arroyo, and a bunch of European-born players relaunched their basketball careers in leagues other than the NBA.

While no big-name stars have yet to make the jump, some have indicated (jokingly, and others, dead seriously) that they’d certainly consider it if the dollars Euros made sense (see: Kidd, Jason; Wade, Dwyane; Bryant, Kobe; James, LeBron). And the official word from the League office about this new dilemma? Something along the lines of “Don’t sweat it.” From the Associated Press:

“If it happens, it happens. I’d be surprised if it did with players of that caliber,” Litvin said. “But certainly we would deal with it if it happened and I continue to think that the NBA will be the gold standard for the top players in the world for a long time to come.”

[...]

“We’re not terribly concerned,” said Joel Litvin, the NBA’s president of league and basketball operations. “In fact, we see this as a positive indication of how popular the sport of basketball is on a global basis.”

On one level, Litvin is absolutely right. The best players in the world are still in the NBA; this cannot be legitimately disputed. The guys who left so far did so because NBA teams refused to give them the kind of money squads in Europe (who are desperate to make a splash, and more importantly, have no restrictive salary cap to deal with) were willing to fork over.

So, what happens once a max-level player gets an offer from an overseas club that (based on recent reports, anyway) puts NBA money to shame? Will it be time to worry then?

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Ethan

    Well, ummm…DUH.
    If Kobe,LeBron, OR D-Wade leaves or any other player close to their caliber & popularity it will seriouslu effect the league in a very negative way because the NBA only exists because of player like those three.
    Without its top stars the NBA is no different than a Euro league. The NBA would have history & the Euros would be making it…..btw 1st comment
    GO Lakers

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Rise up this mornin,
    Smiled with the risin sun,
    Three little birds
    Pitch by my doorstep
    Singin sweet songs
    Of melodies pure and true,
    Sayin, this is my message to you-ou-ou:

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Initial NBA Response to Referee Gambling Allegations: “What, Us Worry?”

  • http://spaceshipjay/myspace.com Spaceship Jay

    Stephon Marbury: This is your ticket out. Take it please.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    viva los vegas

  • Rob

    It’s not a sustainable business model to throw lots of money just to make a splash. The team that gave Childress his money has admited it wont be making money and only wants to win. Over the long run that type of business can not sustain.

  • ritchb

    The Europeans can’t keep paying this kinda of money forever. With no cap they’re just going to bankrupt themselves.

  • http://slamonline.com Yknot

    Yeah who needs all those euros when the nba is paying half that, and uncle sam gets his share! I wish it was like this years ago, some of my favorite players might be gazillionaires by now. God Shamgod, Felipe Lopez, Lawrence Moten anybody? At least Bootsy Thornton’s still doin it.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    the NBA reminds me of a alpha male wolf dying of rabbies. It knows it is still boss, but it acts irrationally constantly too the point where all the other wolves lead him to die, then a bear comes along and crushes him. If that made any sence, put the weed down.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    “Do we lose money from this?”
    “No?”
    “Well then.What,us worry?”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    ritch:All other non American sports seem to be doing ok.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    all american sports seem to be 10000x better. USA!

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    who cares, we lost some Euros to their home teams, Josh Childress needed to leave Atlanta and no NBA team would pay him so he went somewhere else, big woop. Carlos Arroyo gets a paid vaction to Israel have fun when Iran does some crazy sh!t, and the umpa lumpa Earl Boykins went to a land where he will be in leauge with Zesus, Earl will be the Roman god of Speed and Shortness. When Dwayne Wade or Chris Paul go to Europe wake me up. If Lebron or Kobe, too ultra arogant athletes go and ‘ball’ for 50 millie a year, then they will find themselves rich and unemployed because those European teams will just go bankrupt. Nobody deserves 50 a year JUST to put a ball in a hoop, and if i cant see it that makes it even worse. But i wouldnt pass that money up either, but it will never happen.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    “because the European teams will go bankrupt”
    -
    Any reason for saying this that’s based on,you know,fact?It’s doubtful a club with a lot of money,that’s been around for 80 years will go bankrupt by paying their players.
    But you’re right nobody deserves €50mil play basketball,nobody deserves $20 mil either,but if people are willing to pay.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    what club has been around for 80 years?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Olympiakos,same for CSKA Moscow,Panithikos have been around for 100 years,Real Madrid have been around for almost 80.These aren’t little teams thrown together every September.

  • http://nbaukfan.blogspot.com/ mat smith

    Olympiakos, founded in 1925 and is one of the oldest and most tradition-rich clubs in Europe

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    well maybe they wont go bankrupt, but they can only loose money off spending 50 million on 1 player. With 50 million you could built a whole team off D-Leaguers and NBA Bench warmers

  • http://nbaukfan.blogspot.com/ mat smith

    but without a salary cap people can go crazy, like abramovic in football (soccer, chelsea owner, billionaire)Panathinaikos is owned by mega rich pharmaceutical magnates Pavlos and Thanassis Giannakopoulos who have money to burn, imagine cuban without a cap, he would probably like to buy team USA, it all depends.

  • Joe Loco

    If your club is owned by a billionaire raking in limitless oil money every day, you can buy LeBron without regard to attendance or TV money – it’s just your personal plaything. Doesn’t matter if it’s only for a year or two, because high bidder sets the market and NBA wages go up a lot more easily than they go down.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    eww Mark Cuban why do i want to fantize about Mark Cuban?

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Kobe will go at some point. He’s cool with living overseas, and he plays with Euro hacks right now anyways. Plus, he couldn’t lose any more sponsorship dollars than he already has.

  • http://nbaukfan.blogspot.com/ mat smith

    good point, *whispers* good point….

  • ciolkstar

    Kobe still desperately needs his “Shaq-less ring” without that he’s not leaving unless the Lakers get really.eally bad in the bext few years.
    Classic BETCATS @ 9:59

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    classic BETCATS? BETCATS is a true classic. So does that mean i am like old people music fused togther with sexy young people items such as gum, tothpaste, and rubber bands?

  • Justin

    Come on ESPN, lets talk about something different

  • Justin

    Oh, I got it! Why don’t you get one of your 600 online editors to finish the High School hoops rankings from this past season. Poor job done.

  • Justin

    BETCATS – so if that almost made sense but I did get a little confused at the end, does that mean I can spark it up? Now seems like a good time!!

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Justin you should work for ESPN

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    nice marley & wailers eboy

  • lawrence moten

    I wanted to but I couldn’t pass the drug test

  • lawrence moten

    ..work for ESPN that is. Doubt Justin could either.

  • Sparker

    i’ll tell you what would make them nervous. if cuban sold the mavs and bought a european club. which he might enjoy, as it would eliminate the inconvenience of the cap and the irritations of having to take orders from the nba front office. THAT would certainly shake things up and merit more than a “big deal”

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    anything involing the words Mark Cuban together one after the other doesnt mean anything good unless the words is dead directly follows.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Very true Sparker. What everyone seem to forget is; Cuban wouldn’t even be the top economic player if he came here. There are tons of Russian Oligarchs (see; Abramovich, Roman) who are just as eccentric and have even deeper pockets. If you know just a hack about world economics, you guys should know that the $’s decline and the rise of the Euro are not going to change anytime soon, on the contrary the gap is fore casted to widen in the future. There will be an 50 mill offer for someone like Kobe, LeBron, Wade in the future count on it.

  • Captain America

    Why the surprise? David Stern has wanted to globalize the NBA for years. This just fits in with the other indicators (i.e., pre-season games in Europe, Asia, etc.). Moreover, would anyone serious miss J-Kidd at this stage of his career? Earl Boykins is a journeyman player who would hardly be missed.

  • Captain America

    Eboy, “rise up in the mornin” — you drunk? Is there anyone we could pay in Europe to take Ricky Davis and Blount?

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    I don’t think we could have an international post without me saying, “BASKETBALL CHAMPION’S LEAGUE! DO IT!” I also like the inference made that SLAM is ESPN on weed/with better weed.

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Kobe wants a Shaq-less ring, true, but after his Shaq-less Gold Medal he’s about to win, a Shaq-less Euro ring would be pretty cool too. Furthermore, of course he’s not going to jump soon, they just went to the finals. But! I think he’ll go when he’s still a relevant player in the A. Gotta stack paper.

  • memyselfand9

    you know the player’s agents love all that talk.

  • B. Long

    @Mo: Kobe doesn’t “gotta stack paper”. That’s what he signed a 125 million contract for and that’s why Nike is putting him in hyperdunks everywhere you look. If he gets another 3peat under his belt then MAYBE he thinks about Europe. And that’s only if for some reason his current Laker team gets dismantled. With a 20yr. old big who is a top 5 center in the league right now, I really don’t see that happening. Get ready for another Laker Dynasty fellas.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    ^ Irrational idiot.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    ^ Irrational idiot

  • B. Long

    @Eboy: Lets see, a team with legit top 5 players at 3 postions and another who is top 10 status at the least (Odom) doesn’t have a chance to become a dynasty? With one of the greatest players of all time peaking in his prime? And a top 3 young bench who just got it’s first taste of the finals and is getting a healthy Ariza and Mihm back next year? Yeah your right, totally irrational.

  • tike

    this isnt a problem at all….guys like Kobe and LBJ wont jump unless the money is crazy stupid…hell i’d jump for 50mil a year and so what alot of others..something tells me the League will be sweating this real soon

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i just want to thank eboy and BET for starting my day beautifully: a great song and a nonsensical poem. this is why i’m here all the time.
    btw, i’m waiting for david stern to defect to europe also.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    BET should get a manshaping and B., you’re still a simpleton a month and a half later. You spit the same tired sh*t throughout the playoffs and claimed fact to every win the Lakers would wind up with. Last I checked, they fell slighlty short of your perceived title run this season, so keep it quiet until at least April, allright?

  • B. Long

    @Eboy: Never, as long as the Lakers can stay healty(crosses fingers) this year, They’ll be the favorites in the West which automatic and unfairly makes them the favorites for the title. Young Drew is back and he’s trying to get 80 million. Pau and L.O. will be refreshed and motivated and the Mamberman will be fully healthy and at the peak of his game. 73-9 regular season record. Bet on it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Well, now that I know you are joking, I’ll be happy to read your silliness until Kobe sh*t’s the bed again when he is most needed.

  • B. Long

    Gotta remember he was only playing with 7 fingers and half a back, E. Give it a rest.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    7 fingers. Are you not counting his thumbs? Excuses are you pussies, btw.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    *are for

  • B. Long

    I just didn’t want you to be the only pussie with your hand raised, E.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Senseless, as usual.

  • http://www.iba.com iLL wiLL

    International Basketball Association.

  • B. Long

    You’ve never seen “Any Given Sunday”? Head to your nearest Blockbuster, pronto!

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    Hi all,
    Wasn’t Russ supposed to shave stars in his head and prove that with a picture? Did i miss it?
    Sincerely,
    Albie1Kenobi

  • Dre

    One club will try to gamble for a big time player one day but European clubs are notorious for not paying on many occasions. Even though basketball is rising in popularity is is still far behind the US in popularity. This means no big money TV contracts which big sports league thrives on because people in attendance won’t pay the bills. Also while shoe companies offer contracts to b-ball players overseas the money is much less because the TV audience is much smaller… the are no NBA fans eyes watching. I feel this will be a viable alternative for for 8 roster spot players on down.

  • blue

    I just say: David Beckham
    And the Euroleague for soccer still is the best in the world.
    And: you always find some idiot to pay 50Mio for someone just to put the ball in a hoop.

  • reidz

    Why worry?? Shouldn’t it been as positive thing that Europe gets more involved in the game? In the long run it will lead to more people liking basketball, more people playing and as a result more good basketball players emerging

  • LAN

    i honestly believe europe will be a better league soon if it is not yet…. i have watched countless dismal nba matches…

  • John Martin

    I would worry if I was the NBA. If guys like LeBron James and Kobe go away, it obviously shows how much their “childhood dreams” meant to them. What happened to the kid dreaming about the playing in the NBA and grasping the championship after hitting the game-winner? What happened to it all? Money happened to it, didn’t it? Guys like LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Melo, they are the NBA.They represent what it means to be a kid with a dream. It’s insulting to me and all my fellow ballers that these stars would turn their backs on the entire NBA fanbase for money.

    I have a friend who stopped liking basketball after the Lakers suffered a devestating finals loss. He only started playing again because I talked him into it. Think about the effect it would have on Kobe’s fans if he left to Milan. Just my two cents.

    Peace.

  • noob

    This summer, the League has watched as Josh Childress, Early Boykins, Carlos Arroyo, and a bunch of European-born players relaunched their basketball careers in leagues other than the NBA.

    >incorrect name.. early boykins..

  • noob

    does correcting this typo means im getting a shoe or something? LOL! you do this in slam magazine,

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