Deron Williams was the first big name to commit to Turkey, following Sonny Weems being the actual trend setter and signing a Euro contract. Pau Gasol then committed to Spain and Dwyane Wade said he was considering going overseas too. Joakim Noah committed to France.
We saw Brandon Jennings do it for a year in lieu of attending college, and I have to wonder if the Euro leagues might start actually “stealing” players of significance from the NBA.
It wouldn’t be that much of a loss in salary, except for the really big names. Although, it must be said, that some Euro teams don’t even look at all NBA talents as top tier in their own league. Real Madrid balked at Andrei Kirilenko asking for $5.7 mil, but he can probably still get that in the NBA. They want the kind of players that are going to draw crowds if they spend the big bucks, and who can blame them? People don’t come to NBA games to see players like Kirilenko (though there was a time they might have) so why would Spanish fans feel any differently?
I would be interested if any of the big name rookies committed to Europe. It could prove to be a new enough experience to keep them permanently over there. I don’t mean the ones like Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams, but more to the middle of the first round, where their European salaries would rival those that they could obtain in the NBA, especially under a “rookie contract,” if that rule (and the players don’t want it to) stays in place.
It also begs another question: If the NBA does lock out, will NBA TV air the Euro games? They already do air a number of Euro league games, so the licensing agreement is already in place. Will people begin to gamble on Euro league games? To what extent will the actual leagues be followed? These are all things yet to be seen — if there is a lockout, that is.
For so many years the league has been taking from Europe. Perhaps it is time that Europe begins to take from the United States. It’s not fair to expect all the talent to reside in the NBA, is it?