Deron Williams has a deal in principle to play in Turkey should the lockout extend into September (and it almost certainly will be there at the start of the month).
We have our doubts about how many other elite players will follow in those footsteps — but it is great leverage for the NBPA (the player’s union) in negotiations with owners.
So when Newsday talked to union VP Roger Mason Jr., he threw out other big names who might want to play overseas.
“I can see anybody doing it,” said Mason Jr. said. “This is what people have to understand. It’s definitely about earning a living, but we’ve already been so blessed, a lot of guys love the game and want to be able to compete . . . I’ve talked to a lot of the star players, Chris Paul, Amar’e, (Stoudemire) Melo (Carmelo Anthony), I think that those guys are open-minded to everything.”
Again, we have our doubts. In the case of Stoudemire, his agent says in the same article this is not even being considered yet. Stoudemire has four years and $83 million left on his deal that can be voided if he got seriously injured playing overseas. And Stoudemire already has had microfracture surgery and an eye retina problem. You think he’s going to risk the physical play allowed in Europe.
Anthony has for years and about $87.6 million left after just signing and extension with the Knicks. Chris Paul is on the brink of his biggest payday ever as a free agent. Would they really risk all that to make a couple million for a season in Europe?
But it’s good leverage, so expect the union to keep selling it.