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Thursday, July 14th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  15 responses

Union in Full Support of NBA Players Heading Overseas


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

To the surprise of precisely no one, Billy Hunter and the rest of the NBA Players Union are in favor of guys maximizing their earning potential by exploring all options during the lockout.

In a letter to the players he represents, Hunter encouraged them to seriously consider offers from teams abroad while there’s a work stoppage in the NBA (for instance, he’s a big fan of Deron Williams’ decision to play in Turkey.)

The NY Times reports:

In a letter sent to 450 players this week, Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, said that playing abroad would keep the pressure on owners while allowing union members to continue making a living.

“This lockout is intended to economically pressure our players to agree to an unfavorable collective bargaining agreement,” Hunter said in the letter. “It is important for owners to understand that there may be significant consequences to their decision to put their own players in these difficult economic circumstances.” Hunter said, “If the owners will not give our players a forum in which to play basketball here in the United States, they risk losing the greatest players in the world to the international basketball federations that are more than willing to employ them.”

For NBA team owners, the biggest problem with players heading overseas to play are the injury risks. But it’s a double-edge sword: if a player gets hurt playing in another league, his NBA deal could be voided.

Even though there are well-founded concerns about some overseas teams not paying players on time, Billy Hunter knows the temporary player relocation overseas are his greatest bargaining chip against the owners. And he’ll milk it for all it’s worth.

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  • http://Zogs.ca Zogs

    Man I hate these stupid articles
    SLAM I would rather read about a shaq se x tape then this repetitive garbage

  • http://SLAM FLIGHT 9

    Lockout sucks… hope all players go overseas so the owners and stupid commish will think twice and just accept what the players want!!!!

  • http://kobebeefnba.com LDR4

    The best thing about the lockout is the focus it has brought to teams and leagues overseas. It is a major leap forward for the sport internationally and has helped its brand in the United States.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    NBA players should not go overseas, especially if you have a good contract. Whats to gain, by beating up scrubs in a league similar to NBA Development league. BOOK IT!!

  • bull22

    hey BILLY HUNTER, so when are you going to accept a $1.00 salary while the lockout is in effect? funny the players without paychecks but you still get your 2 million dollar salary…. instead of promoting the game after a great season for basketball, you are out promoting players going overseas scandal….

  • Fat Lever

    “…there may be significant consequences to their decision to put their own players in these difficult economic circumstances” What planet do these guys live on? If the players are smart, a work stoppage for a year, based on their salaries shouldn’t create difficult economic circumstances. I have no sympathy for multi-millionaires that blow their money on useless, material things, and then claim hardship in a lockout situation. Get the f*ck outta here with that bullsh!t. Lock them out for a year. Sh!t, make it two. Idiots gotta learn(both sides; owners and players).

  • http://www.hotnewhiphop.com Homo

    SEED should be locked out of Slamonline

  • Fat Lever

    For perspective’s sake, the average NBA salary is $4.79M per year. With the current economic landscape of this country, Billy Hunter’s perspective on his players economic circumstances may be the most conceited and out-of-touch comment I have ever heard.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Fat Lever
    Aren’t they having a lockout because the owners claim they are having “difficult economic circumstances.”
    Isn’t that the gist of their argument?
    Hell, isn’t this whole country on the verge of default because of “difficult economic circumstances”?
    It doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have, managing it is still an issue for most people.

  • Fat Lever

    Allen, I understand your argument. The difficult economic circumstances the owners talk about is the actual business side of league operations. They aren’t referring to their day to day livelihood being affected. From that perspective, I understand where they are coming from. Every business has to operate in the black to have sustainability. I’m not absolving them, they are idiots too. But for Billy Hunter to try and relate to the factory worker making $30k a year, that’s been out of work for 6+ months with his statement about his players lifestyle and “difficult economic circumstances” is flat out wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com The Philosopher

    Now Billy Hunter’s job gets easier.
    As long as his players get SOME money from SOMEWHERE, he won’t feel as bad getting his own money.
    Again, these players are willing to go overseas for the same kind of pay – cut contract that the owners in the NBA are trying to procure. Will the players like a Jared Jeffries get the 15-20 million dollar a year contract over in another country??
    The King would, but…

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Shout out to the outsourcing of NBA talent…

  • rere

    nba players/free agents should start their own league, i.e. the ABA. if the players got together and shot footage of their pick-up games ppl would watch. instead of watching stars compete against each other twice a year we could see them play all day. the best would play against the best, teams could be random, and it would be more entertaining than nba games. who wouldn`t pay to see AI, Bron, Wade, Kobe, Melo, etc? pick-up games broadcasted on TV and the web would open a new market in sports entertainment and the market is open for a venture like this due to the lockout. ppl with no talent are famous through reality TV, imagine if players were to show their offseason experiences, games, bball camps, celebrity charity events. why not satisfy fans while their handling offseason business? before players decide to accept offers overseas, I think they should collaborate on this idea and see where it goes. as fans we shouldn’t have to depend on stern/nba to watch our favorite players. we deserve better as LOYAL bball fans.

  • Allenp

    I honestly thought he meant the difficult economic situation of not getting a paycheck and still having bills. I missed the comparison.
    so since I know rich people mismanage money all the time I didn’t find it hard to believe that not getting regular paychecks would be hard for nba players regardless of how much they have been making.
    Most people spend the money they make. Quickly.

  • T-Money

    why would billy hunter not get paid? he’s a union rep engaged in labour negotiations at the moment – that’s intense work!

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