Deron Williams is by far the biggest name to sign overseas, and there were reports last week he was due to land in Turkey and start working out with his new team Besiktas.
But not yet. Soon, but not yet.
He may get there today, reports Hoopsworld.
Deron Williams was supposed to arrive in Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, but experienced “passport troubles” that caused a slight change of plans. If all goes as planned, he’ll leave for Istanbul today.
There are still a lot of agents and league executives that think Williams will bail on this adventure early, even though he has said nothing of the sort. Those doubters see the millions Williams would get in his new contract next summer and wonder why he would risk injury. Williams has said his wrist is not 100 percent. But Williams had had nothing but positive things to say, and as of today he will set foot in Turkey, which is more than some doubters ever expected.
Since July when he signed on the dotted line, Deron Williams has always sounded serious and excited about playing in Turkey for Besiktas,
Since that same July day, there have been doubters, people in the game that say he will not play or not play long for the Turkish side.
Thursday Williams boarded a plane for Turkey, and as you read this he should be in Istanbul. But that hasn’t changed opinions, and the fact he admitted the wrist he had surgery on after the season is still not 100 percent now plays a factor in those thoughts. People wonder why a guy on the verge of his biggest NBA payday next summer (when he becomes a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal) would risk playing overseas. To make my point, read this from the New York Daily News.
But his recovery has been closely watched because several NBA team executives think that his wrist issues will give him a perfectly legitimate excuse to bail on Besiktas, a second-tier team, if he finds that living in Turkey isn’t for him. The countdown for his return to the U.S. will start in earnest the first time he gets hacked on the wrist….
“I’m excited,” he said last Saturday, about his new overseas career. “I think it’ll be exciting to go over there and play basketball, for one, while everybody else isn’t. It’ll just be an exciting time for my family. See a new culture.”
Williams seems to have the right mindset about this, he seems to be genuinely excited. But the only way he will prove the doubters wrong is to still be in Turkey in a couple months.
Deron Williams was in Utah last weekend playing dodgeball.
He was playing for charity. Not exactly the high stakes of playing dodgeball to save your gym from being bought by Globo-Gym, but still a very worthy cause. Williams was playing with Kyle Korver, C.J. Miles and Wesley Mathews.
And he spoke with the Salt Lake Tribune and gave an update on the injured wrist he played through at the end of last season and had surgery on once the Nets were done in the playoff race (well, long after that, really).
Yeah, yeah. I wouldn’t say 100 percent. I’ve still got to do some strengthening and breaking up scar tissue. I think that’s a process with any surgery.
His wrist will get stronger and some scar tissue will get worked out when he goes to start playing in Turkey soon. While we may wonder why a guy on the verge of a huge free agent contract would risk injury playing overseas, it will be good for his wrist and he will be sharp once the Nets do open camp after the lockout ends.
Phil Jackson did some pretty out-of-the-box things as a coach — group meditation and drum beating to get his team focused and unified. That whole Zen thing of letting teams find their own way by not calling timeouts.
But he has nothing on what is going on in Turkey.
That is where Deron Williams and a number of other NBA players are headed during the lockout to sharpen their games and make a little extra cash during the lockout.
They may find the ways of Turkish coaches disturbing at times, as Jimmy Baron told Rick Riley of ESPN.
He was playing for Mercin of the Turkish Basketball League, the same league superstar NBA guard Deron Williams has agreed to play in during the lockout. They’d lost their first four games of the season and rumor was, if things didn’t get better soon, heads were going to roll.
“The coach didn’t speak any English,” says Baron, a 3-point specialist from the University of Rhode Island. “But he motioned me to come out in front of the arena with the whole team. He put us in a circle and there’s this goat standing there. All of a sudden one of the assistant coaches gets out this huge machete. And then — whack! — he cuts the goat’s head off!”
The Turkish players immediately stuck their fingers in the blood of the neck and wiped it on their foreheads.
“Then they started motioning for me to do it,” Baron remembers. “I’m like, ‘You gotta be crazy!’ And I got the heck out of there.”
Then there are the stories of rowdy crowds chucking batteries and worse at the opposing team. There were teams cutting off the electricity to the homes of players who aren’t living up to expectations. Then there is just living in a country with deep-seeded anti-American feelings among the population.
Maybe a few American stars can help bridge that gap a little (although other Americans have been playing there for years). More than likely, it’s just going to be an interesting side show while Billy Hunter and David Stern have a staring contest across a table.
It’s official, we saw it on twitter.
Actually, it’s official because Deron Williams tweeted it and added a picture of his signature on a contract with Besiktas.
Williams has signed a deal that will have him playing in Turkey this fall if the NBA lockout isn’t resolved. Well, maybe it will, but he has signed the deal, as he tweeted.
Just made it official, headed to Turkey …signed with Beşiktaş &@BJK_Basketbol http://t.co/P77aghv
Credit the man for putting his name on the dotted line rather than giving lip service to being “open” to the idea of playing overseas. There are varied reports on his salary, but it could be as high as $5 million for a full season.
Which is $11 million less than his NBA deal, which is why he has an out clause to return to the NBA the second the lockout ends and the NBA starts to pick up steam again. Which could theoretically be before Beşiktaş even plays a game (the first one is Sept. 27, if the NBA is going to have a full season starting on time they need a deal about no later than that.
There is one other hang-up — that contract he already has signed with the Nets, which has two years and $34 million remaining (the second of those years a player option). To play for Beşiktaş he needs to get a “letter of clearance” from FIBA (the international basketball organization). FIBA has not yet said how they would rule on allowing situations like this during the lockout. The players union has said they would fight to allow guys to play overseas if locked out, mostly because they like the leverage.
If he does play, this is a big risk for Williams. The Nets could void his current deal, but really that’s not likely. The risk is going forward — Williams is on the verge of a big max contract (whatever the max is in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) and a serious injury could cost him a lot of money.
But he wants to play, he put his name of the paper. Officially.