There are a handful of NBA players heading to Israel when the lockout drags into the NBA season: Jordan Farmar and Omri Casspi are the big names. (Note, I’m not even saying “if” games are lost anymore because it seems unavoidable.)
But they may be joined by a bigger name.
In an article at the New York Newsday where Roger Mason Jr. parrots the union lines about reasons he would play overseas (and it might be a smart move for him), Alan Hahn throws in this note:
It’s also an easier decision for (Mason), a free agent, than some of his Knicks teammates, especially Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the latter of whom, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, has recently been contacted by a different team from the Israel league.
If Stoudemire were to play overseas, a team like Maccabi Tel Aviv would make some sense (that is where Farmar and Casspi are playing). It’s one of the powerhouse teams of European basketball and one that has taken on NBA players under contract.
But Stoudemire is a bigger name — and a bigger salary — than either of the other signings. And for him it is a bigger risk because if he were to get injured playing overseas the Knicks could void his deal. Remember, Stoudemire is a guy who has already had microfracture surgery and major eye surgery. He would be taking a risk and getting insurance on his contract would be expensive.
But, the talk is out there.