NBA PM: Could D-Will Go To Europe?
Deron Williams has given some indications that he hopes to ink an extension with the Nets once he’s eligible to do so, but the potential lockout has him thinking about his international options.
“I’m already looking into playing overseas,” Williams told Jared Zwerling of ESPN The Magazine. “I haven’t looked anywhere in general; I’m just looking into the possibility of playing over there. But I’m not going to make a decision until after the CBA.”
Williams can opt out of his current deal next summer, but the Nets also have the right to sign him to an extension after the newest collective bargaining agreement gets worked out—and that’s not something Williams cares to speculate about.
“I’m not even going to talk about it,” he said. “I’m going to let that work itself out. I think a lot of people open their mouths and shouldn’t be talking about the CBA. Let he people handle it that need to handle it. I don’t know enough about it to be running off at the mouth.”
After being traded by the Jazz, Williams appeared in only 12 games for the Nets because of a right wrist injury that was addressed with offseason surgery.
“It’s good,” Williams said of the wrist. “There’s really not much rehab; it’s just getting the strength back. Just by using it every day, you’re pretty much doing that.”
There was some other good news for Nets fans who hope to see Williams make the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn in the summer of 2012: He liked what he saw at the Barclays Center construction site.
“It was cool, man,” Williams said. “It was cool just to see it all come together. They got a lot of beams up, so you can see kind of structure. There was enough up to where you can picture it, get a feel for how the arena is going to be. It’s good to see where the direction of the team is going and we’ll continue to do that over the next year.”
Speaking of Europe and the Lockout…
As Steve Kyler pointed out in the NBA AM, there is no shortage of foreign prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas, the Czech Republic’s Jan Vesely, Turkey’s Enes Kanter and the Congo’s Bismack Biyombo are among the most intriguing pro prospects of the last few years, and have all been described as potential lottery picks.
But not everyone sees this year’s lottery as an international free-for-all. A source close to the draft process has told HOOPSWORLD that the mere possibility of a lockout this summer is already having major ramifications with the foreign prospects.
Prospects who currently play professionally in Europe have hefty buyouts with their club teams. Should they get drafted this June, the NBA team that selects them will have the right to pay up to $500,000* of that price tag, but anything else would have to come out of the players’ pockets. Under normal circumstances, an NBA rookie would have enough cash to pay off their old European employer, but the possibility of a work stoppage has put everything in limbo. Players can’t afford the buyout if they’re not cashing checks in the NBA, which may cause a few players to re-sign in Europe even if they’re drafted early in the NBA draft.
Lottery teams fearing another Ricky Rubio situation could anticipate the trepidations of foreign players, and, not wanting to draft someone who would stay overseas for the next few seasons, could subsequently turn their attention to American collegiate players. Can the Timberwolves really afford to watch another pick stay overseas?
If that’s the case, the franchises that select after the lottery may stand to gain. Since those teams are primarily playoff caliber, they don’t need as much immediate help as those that pick in the lottery, so they wouldn’t mind drafting strictly for upside. Even if they have to wait a couple of seasons to sign the player in question, a perennial contender like the Celtics would be happy to wait for a lottery talent.
But that’s not the only way to look at this dilemma. Conversely, some lottery teams might be more eager to draft a foreigner if they know a European team will pay his contract during any potential work stoppage. Let’s say a lottery team like the Cavaliers anticipates a lockout, and they’re convinced that Vesely is the best player they could draft (this is just an example, so let’s not get bogged down with details). Cleveland could draft Veseley, and while other teams’ rookies are forced to sit and wait for the NBA’s labor situation to get resolved, he could be making money and sharpening his skills in Europe.
If this seems complicated, that’s because it is. Different sources have very differing opinions on this matter, but one thing seems to be constant. Pretty much everyone that speaks with HOOPSWORLD agrees that this crop of foreign players is worth waiting for.
*—Depending on the language of the next CBA, teams may be allowed to pay more or less than the $500,000 buyout allowance in the future. If a team intends to pay a portion of a player’s buyout this year, it must do so immediately following the draft.
The worst-kept secret in Hollywood (other than the one about John Travolta’s hair) is that the Clippers’ Blake Griffin was poised to win the T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year. The only question was, “Is anyone crazy enough to vote against the man?”
We got our answer this afternoon, and it turns out that Griffin is the first unanimous ROY selection since David Robinson in 1989-1990. The rookie out of Oklahoma—who missed the 2009-2010 season due to a knee injury—received all 118 first-place votes. Last year’s top pick, Washington’s John Wall, finished second with 295 points while Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins took third with 81 total points.
Griffin was the only player in the NBA this season to average at least 20 points, 12 boards and three assists per game and he’s the first rookie to average 20 and 10 since Elton Brand did it back in 1999-2000.
Oddly enough, Griffin is the first Los Angeles player—Clippers or Lakers—who has ever won the award.
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