Apologies for the lack of lockout coverage on this site. I’m still taking the time to do research before posting anything with an opinion. If I’m going put something on this page, I’m making sure it’s right. However, this news blurb has some across that’s impossible to ignore. According to Jeff Schwartz, Deron Williams agent, Williams has a deal in place to play for Turkish club Besiktas if the lockout continues. If the name Besiktas sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the same club that signed Allen Iverson for a brief time. They’re also close to signing Zaza Pachulia.
It is highly unlikely that we have seen the last of players exploring the possibility of heading overseas. What makes this specific case notable is that Williams is the highest profile star to come this close to making a deal. This is not to suggest that every single superstar will play in Europe, but don’t be surprised to see a few names pop up. 2nd round draft picks and UDFA’s are also pretty good bets to play abroad due to the lack of a summer league. The NBA has already stated that it will not prevent players from playing overseas. The action to play overseas during a work stoppage is actually an option unique to basketball. Basketball has become so popular around the globe that quality leagues exist across the world and would love to add NBA players to their roster (don’t tell me about the MLS. It’s become a better league, but it’s not a top tier league).
This move is also going to impact the Nets relationship with Deron Williams. Williams has one year left on his contract before he can become a free agent. With the chances of the Nets resigning Williams already dicey, the prospect of having Williams going to to Turkey isn’t comforting. Playing in Europe presents Williams another option, one the Nets would rather do without. In reality, this move put the pressure on Mikhail Prokhorov. He bought the New Jersey Nets to build them into a contender. Letting Deron Williams slip away will only move the team in the opposite direction. Now, there is still plenty of time to salvage this situation, but the front office must now begin to think fast. The Nets gave up a lot for Williams, his departure to another team would leave them with nothing.