The possibility of Deron Williams and the league’s top tier crossing the Atlantic to play their professional ball has all but consumed the day-to-day NBA chatter, but even the most solid bits of news on the subject come with a lack of permanence. Williams isn’t going to play in Turkey for the rest of his career; he’s playing ball, making some money, and applying pressure on the NBA’s owners, but his aspirations are to come back to the good ol’ US of A and pick up where he left off as soon as the lockout is resolved. There’s no real threat to the NBA product we’ve come to know and love because the domestic and foreign basketball products are functionally non-competitive.
However, a select group of NBAers, most of which are European or at the very least have experience playing professionally overseas, may potentially play the lockout waiting game by different rules. Such is the case with Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova, who reportedly has agreed to a three-year deal with Fenerbahce Ulker that could keep him in his native Turkey without a contractual out to return to the NBA anytime soon (link via BrewHoop).
The reports detailing Ilyasova’s deal are still a bit shaky at this point, and as they’re confirmed and clarified we should have a better idea of his long-term intentions. His potential departure wouldn’t leave the Bucks in a particularly bad spot from a positional standpoint (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden, Jon Brockman, and Larry Sanders are all capable of filling minutes at power forward), but Ilyasova is nonetheless a young, solid rotation player. It does the Bucks no good to lose him outright, and though his production can largely be replaced, this would still be an unfortunate development for a franchise that can’t afford all that many bad breaks.
The Bucks aren’t a team with a ton of luxuries; they’re coming off of a terribly disappointing season, and though a healthy Andrew Bogut would do Milwaukee a lot of good, the team is still in a bit of a tough spot. Their pre-draft trade for Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, and Shaun Livingston helped to brighten the Bucks’ financial outlook, but they’re still a team without many clear avenues for immediate improvement or spare assets. They don’t need Ilyasova per se, but it sure couldn’t hurt to have him around, either as a player or a trade chip.
Things just keep getting better for NBA fans when it comes to national TV broadcasts.
It was announced in August that TNT would be doing away with the “Players Only” broadcast that appeared on NBA TV. Those broadcast crews were roundly criticized as being meandering and uninformed when it came to the product on the floor.
Now fans are getting more of what they want in the form of Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.
According to a report from Richard Deitsch, Nichols and Taylor will be the hosts of ESPN’s pregame show, NBA Countdown.
Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups Won’t return as analysts on the pregame show next year, leaving just Jalen Rose. That means there are a couple of spots open, and we don’t yet know who ESPN will fill them with. Nichols will reportedly continue to host her regular show “The Jump”.
As the league continues to get more popular, it makes sense that broadcast partners listen to the audience. Nichols is an NBA favorite, so having her be more visible makes a lot of sense.
Kyle Kuzma is going to be expected to have a big year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks he can have the impact of a third star for L.A., a team that didn’t add Kawhi Leonard to go alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer.
That’s big talk from Kuzma, but perhaps that talk has boosted his confidence a little bit. In a photo posted to Instagram this week, Kuzma could be seen wearing… whatever this is.
Twitter had a great time with Kuzma outfit, which looks like something pulled straight out of an early 2000s episode of TRL.
Kuzma’s contemporaries in the NBA thought he was getting a little wild with it, too, with several hopping onto the post to roast the Lakers big man.
I don’t know what this means for the upcoming Lakers season, but I’m sure it’s something interesting.
Everyone has been upset about the recent ACL tear suffered by DeMarcus Cousins. The Los Angeles Lakers big man just can’t seem to catch a break, and has injured his Achilles, quad, and now ACL in the span of two years.
Last year was supposed to be one of retribution for Cousins with the Golden State Warriors, but the results were disappointing. Even still, the Lakers decided to take a chance on Cousins as they tried to push for supremacy in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile folks have shown their support for the former Sacramento Kings All-Star, with Draymond Green being the most recent star to offer comment. The former Warriors teammate of Cousins told ESPN how he felt about the injury this week.
Via ESPN and Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
“One of my goals coming into this season was for DeMarcus to destroy everybody and come back and show how great of a player he is and get what I think he deserves,” Green told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “I’m really at a loss for words about it. It’s one that really hurt me for sure.”
Cousins is now 29 years old, and the question is whether he will ever return to any kind of form approaching what he had in Sacramento. His injuries have been devastating, and they are the kind that few have returned from to play at an elite level in the NBA.
Cousins appears to be fast approaching a spot in NBA history with other potential greats whose careers were ruined by injury. Hopefully he can find a way to avoid that track.
Jeremy Lin does not appear to be on the radar of any NBA teams at this juncture. It has been an up-and-down summer for Lin, who won a championship with the Toronto Raptors back in June but finds himself a free agent here in August.
Lin has already said that it’s been extremely tough for him to go without a contract this offseason, and it was reported that he turned down a deal with CSKA Moscow to pursue further NBA opportunities.
Now there are murmurs that Lin could be headed to China to play for the Beijing Ducks. According to Sportando, Chinese reporter Sonx Xiang is saying that Lin and the Ducks are closing in on a deal.
NBA players can go on to have lucrative careers in the CBA. Lin is still a decent enough scorer at the NBA level, and it’s most likely he would fit into the Chinese game quite well.
As a branding and personal opportunity, China could fit Lin nicely. He’s currently on his annual tour of Asia, helping kids across several countries with basketball camps and charitable concerns.
The South China Morning Post has reported that Lin said he would be willing to play in the CBA. Lin also told website Radii of his trips to China that, “When I go there, I feel the most at home.”
Make no bones about it, Lin would much rather play in the NBA this season. Looking at his numbers on Synergy, it’s sort of surprising that nobody would want him as a third point guard on a minimum deal. But in the meantime, Lin has spent a significant amount of time in China and feels a kind of purpose when he’s there.
If he’s got to be away from home — and away from the NBA — this might be the best option for Lin available right now.