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NBA PM: More Stars Going Overseas?
Posted By Alex Raskin On July 27, 2011 @ 6:20 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
Forget Europe. Hornets guard Chris Paul and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony may have their eyes set on China.
During a promotional tour of the country, SNTV asked Anthony where he would play during a prolonged lockout, to which he replied, “China,” according to a report by the Associated Press. When asked his opinion, Paul immediately agreed, “Same, no question.”
“It’s a lot of history here,” Anthony continued. “The fans are great. Why not? Why not try it out?”
Considering the bridge between the NBA and China (former Rockets center Yao Ming) is stepping away from the game, this kind of publicity could be critical for the survival of the sport in Asia. Obviously basketball is as popular as ever in the Philippines, where some NBA players recently competed in two highly-publicized exhibitions, and Iran, which has a surprisingly popular league; but the largest population in the region is in danger of losing its collective interest in the game. FIBA would have to sign off on ay deals because they’re both currently under contract in the NBA, but this would certainly be a big “get” for the Chinese basketball league.
But Paul and Anthony aren’t the only two All-Stars professing an interest in playing overseas this week.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant told Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix that he too would consider playing abroad if the lockout isn’t settled soon.
“I love playing in the states,” Durant said. “But I want to play somewhere. If you have an opportunity to [play overseas], it’s something you have to think about.”
Durant played in the exhibitions in the Philippines along with Paul, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose and told reporters that chances are “50-50″ that he would play overseas, but added that he would not make any decisions until September.
In the meantime, Durant keeps in touch with his Thunder teammates to make sure that they’re staying in shape.
“I’ve checked in with everybody,” he said. “First off, I trust all my guys. They are all working hard and getting ready for next season. We’re all family and we’re going to keep checking in with each other and make sure we get through this.”
Durant told Mannix that “four or five” of his teammates will work out in Houston together next month with Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
But unless something changes dramatically in the collective bargaining negotiations, those workouts could be the only contact the Thunder players will have on a basketball court for some time. That’s why Durant is keeping up on the labor news and not taking anything for granted.
“I just want to make sure I’m in the loop with everything,” Durant said. “I went to one meeting during All-Star weekend and we were so far apart I knew it was going to take awhile. The owners don’t want to give in on the things we want. As players, we have to stay together. But I really want to get [a deal] done for the fans, the people who enjoy watching the game.”
Everyone wants a deal, and as it turns out, some NBA players want two.
Love Spikes NBA.com
Timberwolves rebounding king Kevin Love announced his intentions to join a volleyball circuit in Los Angeles during the lockout on Tuesday, and took a few jabs at the league and its website in the process.
“They took everything off,” Love told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I laughed, but it’s not funny. You take everyone off? You go on our website and it’s the dancers and Crutch our mascot. I think it’s cool for the charity events, but not using any of the players, it’s silly. Let’s get this thing resolved and play basketball. It’s disheartening to the fans and to us. Let’s get it figured out.”
The NBA has taken all player images off of NBA.com and NBA TV during the lockout—a work stoppage Love feels is going to last a long time.
“My gut feeling is it’s going to be a long time,” Love said. “I’m hoping and praying it’s not. I want to be able to say I played 15 years, a full 15 years. But it’s looking like it’s going to be a long time. Hopefully it will be more than 50 games, and we won’t have to play back-to-back-to-back. I really hope it is all 82.”
Berman asked Love his feelings about possibly playing for Larry Brown, who recently interviewed for the Timberwolves vacant head coaching position.
“My style of play, he’ll like it,” the former UCLA Bruin went on to say. “Obviously he has a lineage of success, including UCLA.”
Brown coached UCLA from 1979 until 1981 before going on to become head coach of the Nets.
Rubio Hits the Weights
Ricky Rubio spoke with FIBA.com about his much-anticipated arrival in the NBA—an event some four or five years in the making.
“I approach it with more hope than fear, and with great respect for things,” Rubio said.
But that doesn’t mean Rubio is overconfident. The rail-thin playmaker acknowledges that the NBA game is more physically demanding so he’ll need to bulk up or risk getting pushed around.
“I think it will be physically harder than Europe,” he said. “I will need to do more weights.”
The lockout may end up wiping out the entire 2011-2012 campaign, but that might give Rubio some time to do some house hunting.
“I need to find a house where I won’t get snowed in,” he continued. “My new colleagues have already told me where to look.”
Does such a place even exist in Minnesota?
Check Out: Billy Hunter
New York Times basketball writer Jonathan Abrams wrote a piece on players’ union executive director Billy Hunter for Grantland.com, which had some interesting details:
As it turns out, Hunter is a fascinating character an Abrams does a great job of examining his interesting career. Do yourself a favor and give it a read.
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