Rick Pitino: Many NBA Players Going to Europe During Lockout

The Louisville coach believes that a large number of NBA hoopers (to say nothing of guys coming out of college) will be strapped for cash heading into next season’s possible lockout, and will need to earn a paycheck somewhere, anywhere. ZagsBlog reports: “I do think there are a lot of guys in the NBA who have made a lot of money, but have not invested wisely,’ Pitino said Wednesday by phone. ‘So if they think the lockout’s long, they’re going to try to get Greece, Italy and Spain as quickly as they can.’ Pitino said he advised Louisville junior power forward Terrence Jennings, a borderline second-round NBA Draft pick, to take the first European deal he is offered. ‘I gave him all the information and said to him, ‘You’re probably, if you have good workouts, going to get drafted in the second round,’ Pitino said. ‘That being said, you must understand that the first deal that comes across from Europe, you need to take because a lot of these pro guys are very good and they’re going to need money and they’re going to have to go to Europe because of the lockout.’ The current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, and if the two sides cannot agree on a new deal the NBA could be headed for an extended lockout. Pitino cited a Toronto Star story from within the past few years that said 65 percent of first-round NBA Draft picks within the past 15 years are currently bankrupt. ‘There aren’t a lot of guys in the NBA that have invested wisely and saved their money,’ Pitino said. That, in turn, will make competition overseas tougher for guys like the 6-foot-10 Jennings. ‘The competition for Europe and Asia is going to be very keen with this lockout,’ Pitino said, adding he told Jennings: ‘Don’t hold out. There’s no summer league. Samardo [Samuels] got very lucky last year because LeBron broke up the Cleveland Cavaliers. So you’ve got to take what’s available.'”