It is every player’s favorite threat — “I can always play in Europe.” Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, a ton of players have pulled out the Euro card as an option.
It’s not really an option, not like they think.
So warns Nenad Krstic, who spent the last several seasons in the NBA (Thunder and Celtics) but signed with powerhouse CSKA Russia to play for them next season. Krstic spoke with the Boston Herald.
“I don’t think you will see a lot coming here,” Krstic said yesterday from his home in Kraljevo, Serbia. “Europe is not in a great situation financially. There are only four or five teams now that can offer much to NBA players, and those teams right now are almost full.
“That’s a problem for NBA players, I think,” he said. “It was a reason why I had to go right away. I got maybe the best contract in Europe because of that.”
That doesn’t even get into how players who are under an NBA contract need a special waiver from FIBA to play overseas, even during a lockout.
Talk to players that play overseas ad they will tell you that playing for the big names teams you know the names of — CSKA Moscow, Barcelona, Real Madrid — and playing for most teams are different experiences. The farther down the food chain you go, the more you run into teams that struggle with payroll, coaches on massive ego trips (and coaches have more power there) and more. It’s not exactly the NBA on the other side of the pond. And on the top teams, there will be few if any spots left by the time NBA players come knocking.
Just know that while it makes a good threat, it’s not such a practical option.