Allen Iverson was the first, unsuccessful attempt. Deron Williams is almost certain to be the next Besiktas signing, for what is rumored to be a conditioned 5 million dollars, one year contract. For a current NBA All-Star, in the prime of his career, to make a move such as this, lockout or not, is quite a statement. And more are likely to follow – even Kobe Bryant.
But let’s start with Williams, who played for both the Utah Jazz and the New Jersey Nets last season. Williams missed 17 games in 2010-2011 due to a wrist injury and has two more years worth nearly 34 million dollars on his Nets contract. Williams, according to report, is looking to opt out of the contract next summer. There’s a good chance that if the lockout continues, he has played his last game in Nets uniform.
There are a few obstacles standing in way of players under-contract, locked out or not. FIBA might have a say in this, but the NBPA will legally challenge the NBA or FIBA if they attempt to prevent any player from finding a new “temp job” while under the work stoppage.
There’s also the injury insurance and guaranteed money – Williams’ guaranteed money from the Nets won’t be protected in case of an overseas injury. With all the problems surrounding this possible transfer, there’s a much more happier bottom line, and that’s Besiktas and European teams might be getting an influx of NBA talent if this lockout continues to look like it’s gonna last. Ergin Ataman, the Besiktas coach, said that Williams’ signing is bigger than Iverson’s.
But hold on a second – Deron Williams isn’t the only name outthere. There’s been talk of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and even the hugely popular Zaza Pachulia also moving to Besiktas. That all pales in comparison to the recently operated on Kobe Bryant. Bryant, if you may or may not know, is a presenter for Turkish Airlines, grew up in Europe. I don’t know how keen he is on actually going there, because he clearly doesn’t need the money, but Besiktas are going for him as well.
David Stern himself said the NBA won’t stand in the way of players looking to play in Europe during the lockout. The questions regarding the subject are – How many players, well established in the league, are willing to make the move across the Atlantic for a short time? How many teams across Europe can cough up that kind of cash? How many teams are willing to sign guys who could bolt a few months into the season if the lockout ends?