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Don’t expect a flood of top NBA players to Europe

Jul 7, 2011, 3:31 PM EDT

Deron Williams Getty Images

There is some logic to why Deron Williams would sign with Besiktas Cola Turka to play next season. For one, it puts some pressure on the NBA owners in the Collective Bargaining talks (although not that much). Williams is coming off wrist injuries at the end of last season and this would let him get his playing touch back (for Nets fans, that’s not bad). And he makes a little scratch.

But there are some reasons this doesn’t make sense, especially if you like money. According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski Williams will get paid $200,000 per month (plus have his housing covered, a driver, security guard and personal assistant). You are saying not bad, but it is by NBA terms. If he plays a full season over there he could make one-tenth of his NBA salary — and if he gets injured he risks losing all $34 million on his current deal (if injured the Nets can void his contract). Plus he could miss out or reduce the $70 million or more he will make on his next contract.

Would you risk $100 million just to play for a few hundred thousand in Turkey for a couple months? You think his new agent is recommending this?

Lots of places are reporting that agents are skeptical about this Williams deal. CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger has a source that probably said it best.

“The guys I work with in Turkey say there’s no chance this is happening,” the agent said….

“He’s going to risk that to make a few million dollars?” the agent said. “What if he gets hurt?”

Williams may or may not go (he doesn’t have to report until Sept. 1, the first game is Sept. 27, right about when a del needs to be struck to salvage the full NBA season). But money is the reason you are not going to see a river of top-flight NBA guys heading overseas — they have too much money in their deals to risk going overseas.

What’s more, the top-flight European teams are not going to sign a player — even an elite player — for less than a guaranteed full season. Top teams are not going to rent a player, they don’t need to. Lesser teams can’t afford to bring over stars. As the fantasitc Mark Deeks (@ShamSports) points out, Besiktas is an exception — it is a team with deep pockets but one that rarely spends any of that money. It did last season on Allen Iverson, it is willing to do so for D-Will. But teams like FC Barcelona or CSKA Moscow will not just rent NBA players for a season.

Borderline NBA players will still head overseas, it might even be smart for them to ensure a payday. But for stars it makes less sense. And not a lot of people are going to follow Williams.

If he even goes.

  1. randysavage4ever - Jul 7, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    No way I would ever do it, you said it best, 100 mil

  2. goforthanddie - Jul 7, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    The players speak as if Europe etc. is a viable option, in order to scare the owners. It’s not and the owners know it. Sure, some will sign, but no big-ticket players. Or mid-ticket.

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