Sonny Weems will be the first to say “screw it” and head overseas for the lockout. With Weems a restricted free agent, even after the Raptors extended a qualifying offer before Friday’s lockout was imposed, Weems was eligible to sign elsewhere, and has. Hoopsworld reports the young wing is on the verge of signing a one-year contract to play in Europe. The exact team is not known at this time.
Maybe more interesting than just the fact Weems signed overseas is that it’s a one-year contract with no NBA-out clause. So if the lockout magically gets resolved in the next four months, Weems would stay in Europe the entire season before returning in 2011-2012. A curious decision that could have been decided by the European club who likely had bargaining power over the star-power-less Weems, or by Weems himself, instead deciding to commit to one team for the entirety of the year versus trying to deal with anxiety over when to return if a lockout seemed to be ending but wasn’t officially.
It’s the start of what could be a trend, though reports are conflicted about whether players who are not free agents at the moment can play overseas. Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony reported yesterday that agents have informed him that they are confident they’ll be granted FIBA clearance to play overseas. Without that clearance they might be blocked, and the league will have a tricky time deciding how to approach the situation with FIBA. Attempting to block the players could result in a lawsuit and once one lawsuit enters the fray, it sets off a series in the lockout. Not blocking the attempts would give the players a financial lifeline, essentially killing the real power of the lockout. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.