Posted by Royce Young
As the days of a potential lockout near, the more we hear of players trying to come up with a backup basketball plan. Most of that involves Europe.
The hangup there is their current contract situations. For instance, Kobe is signed by the Lakers through 2014. If he were to play in Europe, he'd have to sign a new contract with a new team, which you know, can't happen because he's already under contract in Los Angeles. Unless it's bought out. Or if the team just says it's totally cool, which most won't because it's a major risk with injuries and such.
But that's not even the main hurdle to get over. Before anything, FIBA has to allow it.
However, a player can move to a foreign tem is he's cleared by FIBA and the issue is whether or not FIBA would allow players who are under contract in the NBA to come over because of a lockout.
ESPN.com reports that the NBA Player's Association thinks players will indeed get clearance from FIBA. "NBA teams ultimately will not be able to legally enforce contracts during an NBA shutdown, whether it's short or long."
Also in that report is that the NBPA is advising players that it's a major risk if they go to Europe (or anywhere overseas) because they could be forfeiting their NBA contract if they get injured there. So if Dirk goes to Germany and tears both ACLs, he probably won't have his Mavericks contract anymore. That's a pretty huge risk to take and one I doubt players are really that interested in.
But the threat is there and it sends a pretty good message to the league that the players are looking at their options. They don't intend to twiddle their thumbs waiting for negotiations to get hashed out. If they have to look elsewhere, they will.
And by the sound of it, they'll at least have the option.