LeBron James belives there’s still hope for the 2011-2012 NBA season. Maybe not to start on time, but it can be saved. Sitting down with AP, LeBron James spoke about his summer activities, which unlike a growing number of NBA player, don’t involve signing with European clubs, or even Asian (Dwyane Wade and China?). No overseas plans for LeBron in then near future, until the 2012 Olympic Games.
He spoke about getting better – He’s training with Hakeem Olajuwon on his post up game, something James struggled with during the Finals against any Mavs player guarding him. He had a chance with Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion to party in the paint, but found it hard to create anything while posting up on them. Our team becomes better if I continue to get better and that’s what it’s about, in his own words.
LeBron James also spoke about the players crossing the Atlantic for a chance to play basketball while the NBA lockout continues with no foreseeable end. He understands the decision, and explained their actions by “coming from love for the game.” The NBPA, as you all know, is encouraging the players to go and do their thing overseas. The owners, with Stern as their voice, are against it. Although he cites the players’ own good as his reason for not wanting them to play in Europe.
Despite the overall atmosphere of finding a contract somewhere else while we still can, helped by the fact that Billy Hunter is betting against having a 2011-2012 season, at least publicly, LeBron James isn’t the only player to shun, at least for now, the idea of playing overseas.
Dirk Nowitzki – He will be playing for Germany in the 2011 Eurobasket in less than a month, and after that he might be considering offers. Right now, the still celebrating NBA Champion doesn’t want to think about leaving to Europe for club basketball, despite the offers. He’s also been offered contract from China.
Rajon Rondo – Rondo would be making just over 10 million dollars next year, if the season actually begins. Currently only worried about improving and mounting another challenge, probably the last, with this group, next season, Rondo isn’t thinking about playing overseas. His agent has said that the option will become something more realistic if the entire season is cancelled.
Andre Iguodala – The Sixers’ swingman has no plans overseas during the lockout. He’d consider a tour gig, but no a year long contract.
Besides Nowitzki, there are several European players who aren’t looking to make the move, including Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez, despite the huge interest they both create in Spain. Fernandez is still waiting for the lockout to end at some point, while Gasol doesn’t seem to have any bone in his body urging him for a cross Atlantic year long trip right now.
Brandon Jennings, who has played in Italy before joining the NBA in 2009, highly anticipated rookie Jimmer Fredette, NBA All-Star Danny Granger (despite earlier interest in the move) and Carl Landry are also in the LeBron James state of mind – hoping the storm will blow over, and we’ll have our NBA back soon. Europe, and the world, can wait for now. L