It seems like every day that goes by sees more big name basketball players talking about heading overseas to play pro ball elsewhere for the upcoming season. The latest names to be popping up are Kevin Durant, Amare' Stoudemire and Ron Artest. Who knows what names may be joining those tomorrow, but you get the feeling that the more time that goes by with the lockout still intact, there are going to be more and more big names talking about taking their talents elsewhere.
The reason I bring this up is because I have to wonder if the players looking for alternative places to play is going to effect the lockout and it possibly coming to a sooner end. With the players being very open all of a sudden about not having any reservations against playing in different countries, it raises the question about how the owners feel about this.
I imagine that there is some amount of concern with the owners regarding key players from their respective organizations going somewhere else to play. Someone could get injured, which could create a huge mess of problems in a lot of different ways. What about contracts, and potential problems if the NBA season starts around Christmas and a fraction of its players are already involved in a season on another part of the world.
When looking at the possibility of players going elsewhere from that angle, it certainly seems as though it's putting the owners in a very unfavorable position. There are just too many potential problems that could arise in these situations and it wouldn't surprise me at all if this is something that is partly a strategy of the players to try and scare the owners a little bit.
This is a situation where both sides are trying to get whatever advantage they can. Right now the only information that seems to be the same coming from both sides is how far apart they are in reaching a new deal. Some are hoping that the NFL coming to an agreement with its players, which is rumored to be happening in the next couple weeks, will have a positive influence on the NBA's lockout situation and possibly push them towards coming to a deal sooner.
For now though, it seems like we're still going to be hearing about an assortment of players that want to find alternative places to play next season. There are some out there who think that the owners may not buy into this concept and call the players bluff, for lack of a better term. I'm not saying that the players won't actually go play overseas, but it's hard to imagine it happening with the amount of guys claiming they are interested.
One thing that the owners are well aware of is that there aren't many teams outside of the NBA that can afford to spend millions on any player, regardless of what team it is, what country they are from or what player it may be. The NBA is the best league in the world for many reasons and that's just one example. Sure, over-spending on contracts is part of why we're in this lockout to begin with, but the bottom line is that there just aren't that many teams from around the world with the ability to drop that kind of coin. I know that there are some, but they are few and far between.
Also, the owners are likely operating under the assumption that the players who claim to be looking for another home for the upcoming season, when push comes to shove, aren't going to be too anxious to relocate for a shorter season that could be cut even shorter by an end to the lockout. In the grand scheme of things, a contract for a few million dollars isn't a whole lot of money to guys who are already multi-multi-millionaires. Will it really be worth it for these players to move an ocean away from their homes and families to play in a foreign country for a few months?
All in all...this lockout sucks. Eventually it will end and we'll get back to the NBA basketball that we've all grown accustomed to enjoying every year from November to June. For now though, as unfortunate as it is, we fans have to keep sitting here and waiting for a resolution that doesn't seem to be anywhere close to happening.