Tag: European Basketball

Pau Gasol Spain

Pau Gasol says he prefers the European style of basketball


Is this really even surprising?

Pau Gasol, in an interview with French publication L’ Equipe (as seen on the Spanish ABC site, via Ball in Europe) said he prefers the style of basketball seen in Europe to what is played in the NBA

“I prefer the European game to the NBA because basketball is a team sport and more beautiful to watch when the players pass the ball or when the ball movement to create shooting situations.”

Here’s the thing — 30 NBA coaches agree with Gasol. Well, maybe 29, who knows what Mark Jackson is thinking. But at what point have you heard any NBA coach say, “what we need is more isolation basketball and guys standing around, I’m sick of all this off-the-ball movement.” It doesn’t happen because of the players, not the coaches.

Phil Jackson’s brilliance (in addition to getting a team to focus and ignore outside distractions) was getting star players to buy into a system that required selflessness. The triangle was about spacing and ball movement, and Jackson got guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal to buy in. Or at least buy in enough to make it work. At its heart, the triangle offense was more European in style than what most NBA teams run.

And Gasol is right, when the Lakers really ran the triangle the basketball was a thing of beauty.

Lockout, new labor deal could keep foreign players overseas

Spain v USA
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This year, foreign-born players filled up the NBA draft board like they haven’t in years — four of the top seven picks were foreign born, as were 13 selections overall (21.7 percent).

The ongoing lockout and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could change that in the future.

That is particularly true if the owners get their way with a hard cap and reduced or eliminated exceptions (like the Bird exemption, that let teams go over the cap to re-sign their own free agents), suggests Jonathan Tjarks at RealGM (via TrueHoop).

In the name ofincreasing parity, the owners’ CBA proposal institutes a hard salary cap which would lower player salaries across the board. The removal of the Larry Bird and mid-level exceptions, in particular,would have a devastating effect on the salaries of the “middle-class” of players. Combine that with a reverse-order draft where poorly managed teams in small markets can gain complete control over international players for at least four years, and we’re likely to see more foreign players following the path of Fran Vazquez.

Vazquez was selected #11 by the Orlando Magic in 2005. But instead of joining Dwight Howard in the Magic’s front-court rotation, Vazquez spurned the NBA and signed a lucrative deal in Spain. Even though he wouldn’t have been an All-Star, theopportunity cost of a lost lottery pick haunts Orlando to this day. Andwith the scarcity of talented big men in the league, askilled and athletic 6’10 230 forwardcapable of playing in the paint would have easily carved out a 10-year NBA career.

Zach Harper at True Hoop also points to Dimitris Diamantidis, a guard who certainly could have played here but shunned the NBA to stay in Europe. Right now Vazquez and Diamantidis are the exceptions, but that could change.

There will always be an allure for the NBA — it is the best league on the planet. If you want to test your game against the best, you come here. Also, even with the restrictions, a star in the NBA can make more money than in Europe.

But the NBA has a rookie salary cap — someone like Ricky Rubio had to take a pay cut to come to the NBA, what he is banking on is making bigger money in his second contract (four to five years down the line). There’s a risk there, particularly if you a middle class player in the NBA who may never see that big payday. And the NBA owners seem intent on cutting back what any player can make. If a player can make similar money and get more minutes overseas, what is the incentive to come here and play?

To highlight this situation, Tjarks uses a case from this past draft.

This year, Nikola Mirotic, a 20-year old 6’10 sharp-shooter, signed a two-year extension that will keep him under contract with Real Madrid until 2015. His exorbitant ($3.6 million) bailout caused his draft stock to plummet, and he slipped from the lottery to the No. 23 selection (of the Chicago Bulls)…

Currently, the plan is to wait at least two to three years until his buyout becomes less onerous. But at that point, the Bulls, one of the most promising young teams in the NBA, will likely be locked into long-term deals with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. They certainly won’t have the cap room to offer Mirotic a big contract, and if he continues his upward path, he’ll likely be worth more to a European team than the mid-level exception the Spurs used to sign (Tiago) Splitter, if it even exists after the lockout.

Zaza Pachulia will not be playing for Beskitas

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From Pachulia’s Twitter:

There was lot of talking me going to play for Besiktas during lockout.We couldn’t agree on the therms (sic) and I’m not going to play for them.

This just serves as more proof that despite basketball’s surging popularity in Europe and the high level of play over there, European teams don’t have the funds for NBA players to simply hop overseas and get paid what they want if the lockout goes on.

Tony Parker says he will play in native France if lockout lasts

San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks
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There have been plenty of players saying they would consider playing in Europe if the NBA lockout that is coming this summer drags out into 2012. A lot of those you may not want to take seriously.

The Spurs Tony Parker going back to play in his native France? That you should take seriously.

Parker told the French sporting paper L’Equipe he would like to play in France if the lockout drags on (translation via Hoopshype).

“If the conflict lasts, I think I’ll go and play in France so that my fans can see me up close. I could really progress abroad in a big Euroleague team, but I do not want that. I already had my glory and titles. If the lockout lasts, I will probably go to play to Villeurbanne.”

He has clearly put some thought into this. As the lockout drags out it will be interesting to see what players start getting restless and make a move.

Nowitzki says he’s not going to play in Germany. Unless…

Image (1) NBA_nowitzki2_250.jpg for post 6235
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We told you it was a real long shot in the first place, but now Dirk Nowitzki has helped us out by throwing a little cold water on the idea of him playing in Germany.

But like FIBA he left himself some wiggle room. Here is what Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News:

“If it’s a long lockout, we all have to check over all our options,” Nowitzki said Tuesday. “You don’t want to lose a whole year. But that’s a long, long way away. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the collective bargaining and even then, there are a lot of other things that go into it. This was mainly just a bunch of speculation.”

Let us reiterate, Dirk Nowtizki is under contract to the Dallas Mavericks. They don’t own him, but they own the rights to say where he can ball. The only way any player under contract can sign and play with a team anywhere else in the world would be to get FIBA to sign a Letter of Clearance. FIBA rules say if you are under contract in one professional league you cannot sign with another unless you get that permission slip.

FIBA, however, left itself some wiggle room — if the entire next NBA season is wiped out with a lockout, are guys still under valid contracts? It’s an interesting question, one that some lawyers would get rich (or, richer) arguing because you can bet the NBA owners would fight any such release from a contract. (Free agents could make the jump.)

And sure, there are some smaller non-FIBA leagues out there in some less industrialized parts of the world. If you think any name NBA players are jumping to those I have a bridge you might want to buy.

If the coming lockout wipes out the entire next season — if a year from today there is no NBA basketball — then the contract question has some merit. But as Nowitzki said we are a long, long way from that. And for the sanity of myself and fellow hoops junkies, I hope it doesn’t come to that.