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If you’re a free agent, do you play pickup during lockout?

Jul 8, 2011, 8:25 PM EDT

Shane Battier Memphis Grizzlies Getty Images

Shane Battier is a free agent and he’s going to have options.

The Memphis Grizzlies want him back as they try to relive their magical run. There are teams like the Clippers that could really use a three with his skillset. If you can defend — and Battier can — you have a place in this league.

But a lot of those options — and the money that comes with them — dries up if he gets injured before the lockout ends. He needs to stay in shape, to stay sharp, but playing pickup games may be too big a risk for free agents like himself, he told Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.

“It’s even stranger for me because I’m a free agent, and that means I really can’t risk playing pickup basketball,” he said. “I remember a few years back in college, Christian Laettner came back and was playing with the Duke guys and tore his Achilles. I can just imagine playing a pickup game at the University of Michigan, going up for a rebound and coming down on someone’s foot. Plus I don’t have [NBA] health insurance right now, which would not be a good thing.

“I don’t know if I’ll be as sharp as I can be without being able to play pickup games. So I’m rooting for an early settlement.”

We all are. But it raises an interesting point — what will happen to the player that does get injured in some fluke way this summer, how will it impact their career. Normally an injury working out in September to get ready for the season would be handled by the team, now it could cost someone like Battier millions.

So he’ll watch the games at the Y this summer, thanks.

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