Looks like the Nets may have both of their point guards playing overseas during the lockout.
Deron Williams will be playing in Istanbul, and now his backup Jordan Farmar is in serious talks to play for Maccabi Haifa in Israel, reports Mark Stein at ESPN. Farmar has one more year left on his deal with the Nets (plus a player option on another season), so the contract will have to have an opt-out clause to allow him to return to the NBA and Nets should the owners and players ever stop suing each other.
“We’ve been in serious talks with Jordan Farmar, who has expressed great interest to play for Maccabi Haifa,” (team owner Jeffrey) Rosen said. “We believe we are close to an agreement, but we have a few more hurdles to overcome to make it happen. We would love to have Jordan Farmar join Maccabi Haifa during the NBA lockout and we find his aspirations to play in Israel to be inspirational.”
Israeli media reports say that Maccabi Haifa could face competition for Farmar from longtime Israeli club power Maccabi Tel Aviv, which perennially contends for the Euroleague title.
Farmar, who is Jewish, would play as an American, taking one of the foreign born spots on the roster.
Maccabi Haifa is the team that took Jeremy Tyler, the standout high school junior out of San Diego who wanted to play professionally. Tyler played one season for them, one season in Japan and then was drafted No. 39 in the last draft and will play for the Warriors. Maccabi Haifa finished ninth in a 10-team league last season.
Jeremy Tyler took the Brandon Jennings formula one step too far when he decided to leave high school after his junior season to play professionally in Israel. It would have taken a remarkably mature high school junior to succeed under the circumstances Tyler chose to embrace, but he apparently had enough faith in himself to take the plunge.
Probably not the best idea. Tyler’s stay with Maccabi Haifa was short-lived for rather predictable reasons, and while having a year in the states dunking on his high school competition wouldn’t likely have done wonders for his development, it would have been something to keep him on the NBA radar. Instead, these days Tyler is already treated as a cautionary tale, a year before he would even be eligible to play an NBA game.
Thanks to the NBA age limit, Tyler still has one more year to burn before declaring for the NBA draft, and according to the Associated Press, he’ll spend it with the confoundedly named Tokyo Apache of the Basketball Japan League.
And how about this for random trivia: the Apache’s (or is it Apaches’) coach is former Pacers, Spurs, and Sonics coach Bob Hill.
Tyler has another year to improve his draft stock, but he squandered an opportunity playing for a legitimate international club in Haifa and will likely fall a few spots because of it. If Tyler could have played well — or at least lasted a full season — in Israel, he could’ve seen his draft worth benefit from a post-Jennings bounce. Instead, he couldn’t make it through the trial he chose to undergo, and now will play in a far less impressive international league.
Someone is going to take a chance on Tyler due to his size and athleticism, but it seems his legitimate chance to be the No.1 overall pick in the 2011 has been destroyed by his own devices.
It seems that there is money out there for the glut of talented, undrafted free agents this summer, it’s just not in the States. Following a number of college stars and productive Summer Leaguers who have already made the jump, Sylven Landesberg has signed a two-year deal with Maccabi Haifa, according to the Associated Press. Landesberg played with the Sacramento Kings in the Vegas Summer League, but wasn’t afforded the chance to really showcase his skills with the depth on that Kings roster.
If Landesberg had secured an NBA deal for next season, it’s unlikely that he would have played much, anyway. He definitely has NBA talent, but Landesberg’s game is still a good year or two away from being viable in the big leagues.
Playing for Haifa should give him a chance to hone his craft while getting a legitimate opportunity for playing time, and I definitely see this as more of a step in a process rather than an end in itself. There are plenty of players forced to go overseas because they’re not talented enough to play in the NBA, but Landesberg isn’t one of them. He just hasn’t figured it all out yet.
Landesberg has a very natural feel for the game, but his skill set still has some holes. He was never a very good finisher at Virginia, and that skill is rather important for off guards in the NBA. However, his biggest limitations are on the defensive end, where Sylven will need to figure out how to compensate for his relative lack of athleticism (he’s not a bad athlete, but far from a standout). Two years down the road, we should be looking at a new and improved Sylven Landesberg, hopefully complete with NBA contract in-hand.