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In event of a lockout, Nowitzki says he wants to play in Germany. Except, he can’t.

Jan 31, 2011, 2:33 PM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki

UPDATE 2:33 pm: Interesting follow up on this from Tom Ziller at SB Nation: FIBA is trying to leave itself some wiggle room. FIBA is saying that so long as a player is under a valid contract he cannot go play overseas without a Letter of Clearance. However, if the entire 2011-12 season were canceled, would those contracts still be valid? You can bet a player would have to be willing to battle in court to make that case, but the union might be up for that fight. Still, that’s a real long shot.

Also, any free agent could go play in Europe as they have no contract.

12:58 pm: As the threat of an NBA lockout looms over next season, you’re going to hear this more and more, “I’m just going to go play in Europe.”

No, they’re not.

The latest is Dirk Nowitzki, who told the German paper Bild (as translated by, via Hoopshype) that if it looks like the season is going to be lost to the lockout he wants to play in his native Germany.

(Nowitzki said): “Rather than do nothing at all for a year, I would come to Germany [to play].” His closest advisor, Holger Geschwinder, elaborated further on their approach: “We would be negligent if we weren’t analyzing our choices.”

Nowitzki isn’t the first to make this threat, Brandon Jennings (who played a season in Italy) said he would go back, too.

Except it is not going to happen. Ever. For anyone.

According to CBA guru Larry Coon, the only way any player under contract can sign and play with a team anywhere else in the world would be to get FIBA to sign a Letter of Clearance. FIBA sets up the rules and when a guy is under contract in one professional league he can not sign with another without that permission slip.

If you think FIBA — or Mark Cuban and the Mavericks — are going to sign off on such a letter, well, you probably thought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got screwed over not getting an Oscar nomination for his work in Tooth Fairy.

I’d like to think this is the last we have to discuss how NBA players are not headed overseas next season, but I fear like Johnson showing up in more kid movies, this will not die that easily.

  1. eazye76 - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    So, what you’re saying is that Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez are going back to Spain to play if there is a work stoppage?

  2. leearmon - Jan 31, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Well this is huge news for fledgeling players and guys with ETO, and PO. Obviously the top tier guys won’t be hurt by a lockout ie Lebrons, Kobe’s ect. But for the majority of the NBA guys without long term contracts, this has got to be great news for the Union.

  3. sixers25 - Jan 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    I think this is also something for owners to keep in mind when trying to both cut player salary and restrict player movement with something like a franchise tag in CBA negotiations. Unlike the NFL, where players can holdout if franchised but eventually they sign the contract when game checks are at stake, basketball has a much more global market. If a team tries to franchise a Chris Paul or Dwight Howard they could always not sign the contract and if the team refuses to trade them, just play in Europe for a season (probably making more money). Hopefully owners realize this key difference between leagues and avoid cutting off their nose to spite their face.

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