Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:40 am

Deron Williams is struggling in Europe

By Matt Moore

Sounds like a great vacation, right? See the sights, try local food, experience a new culture. And hey, play some basketball with guys who aren't even in your league. You can drop 40 a game if you really want to, but you won't, because you're a guest in their country. 

Turns out it's not quite that easy for Deron Williams with Besiktas in Turkey. From ProBasketballTalk.com:  
Williams led Besiktas into the EuroCup last week, which is a second tier tournament that took place in Belgium, and he had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting with 6 turnovers. The man who should dominate at this level watched his team get eliminated fast.

Days before that in D-Will’s debut for Besiktas he was 3 for 15 shooting.
via Deron Williams not impressing anyone in Europe so far | ProBasketballTalk.

Williams told the New York Times that he's getting bumped around so much, it's difficult for him to adjust. So to review, he can't hit shots, and the guy who's less than four months removed from wrist surgery is getting lots of contact without an NBA training staff around. 

That sound you hear is Mikhail Prokhorov saying "No, really, 52 percent BRI is fine!"  
Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 3:30 pm

Euroleague doesn't anticipate signing NBA players

Posted by Royce Young

There hasn't exactly been a mass exodux overseas for NBA players, especially those currently under contract. The biggest name of course has been Deron Williams signing with Besiktas, but names like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have been dangling lately as well. Not to mention Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and a few other big names that have expressed serious interest in competiting in European leagues if the lockout causes the NBA to miss games.

There could be a small problem with that though. As told to SI.com, Euroleague president Jordi Bertomeu does not anticipate Euroleague teams signing NBA players currently under contract.

"Our clubs need to have stable rosters," Bertomeu said via a translator. "They need to know how long they will be able to employ the player. No team will sign a player for only two or three months, or for an uncertain period of time. This is our forecast."

FIBA, who is basically the international basketball governing entity, recently ruled NBA players under contract could compete overseas and then return to their respective team if the lockout is resolved midseason. Bertomeu, however, wasn't exactly thrilled with that ruling.

"When FIBA decided to say that the transfer [of NBA players] will be valid only until the lockout will be over, it was strange," Bertomeu said. "Never in the FIBA history has there been any condition like this. This is very strange.

"We were asking FIBA for their position since the month of May, pending the official announcement of a definitive lockout," he continued said. "The day after the NBA lockout announcement, FIBA should have stated their position. And it took a month. Obviously, since May until now, [the delay] could have been because they were talking with the NBA."

Obviously just because Bertomeu is opposed or doesn't see something happening, doesn't mean NBA players actually won't play in Europe. But with a lot of sketicism following all of these star rumors, it does lean toward a major NBA name playing in Europe during the lockout. What a Euro team would get from it more than anything is just a little marketing. People have already been chattering about Besiktas a bunch in the past couple weeks and that's just because big names have been attached to them. It sounds good for the club, its fans and its sponsors.

But is it actually good for a European club to sign an NBA player for a two months? Probably not. As Bertomeu notes, roster stablility is key as well as organic growth of players. Signing Deron Williams for a few games doesn't exactly encourage growth in terms of talent. Bertomeu's job is to ensure the league stays healthy for the next 20 years, not the next couple months.

NBA players want to keep that steady income though and if that's only available in Europe, that's where they're going to go. It might not be ideal for the league, but that's not going to stop anything. China's pro league recently made a decision to not allow NBA players to return midseason for exactly what Bertomeu is saying.

All of this is contingent on the negotiations though. I've got a plan: Settle a new CBA so we can forget all this extracurricular Euro will-he, won't-he junk. Sound good?
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 5:10 pm

Gates are open: FIBA grants NBA players clearance

By Matt Moore

Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of the low block. The European free agency market is officially open for business. 

FIBA announed today its decision regarding clearance for NBA players locked out and their availability in international competitions, and it's good news for those wanting to play basketball overseas. From the FIBA release:
FIBA has confirmed it will approve the transfer of players under contract with the NBA deciding to play for clubs of FIBA affiliated leagues during the on-going lockout.

During a lockout NBA players who continue to be under contract with an NBA team are free to play anywhere they want, whether for their national teams and/or for club teams.

If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over.

“As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled,” said FIBA Secretary General and IOC member, Patrick Baumann.
via PR N°15 - FIBA clears NBA players to play abroad during lockout | FIBA.COM.

NBA players headed overseas?
The ruling paves the way for what the NBPA hopes is a mass exodus of players overseas in an effort to show the NBA that its players can support themselves while the owners try and starve them out with the lockout. Deron Williams has already signed with Turkish team Besiktas, which also is meeting with Kobe Bryant on Saturday according to reports.

Whether or not players will actually pursue such opportunities is still hotly debated. Most think that players may sign, but never play abroad. Others think that the risks are too great for the players. Some think that the money makes sense, but not as much as the chance to expand their international brand, which can have far greater benefits than any salary they would pull from their team.

FIBA also stated in the release that "in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, National Teams competing in this summer’s Olympic Qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars." That may have been part of the agreement met when Baumann met with David Stern last week. 

Now we wait to see what the effect of this ruling will be, and if the players and European clubs take advantage of it.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 1:34 pm

Report: Stern to meet with head of FIBA

By Matt Moore

Update: SBNation.com reports that the meeting has been scheduled for months and is only to discuss the 2014 World Championships, not to cover anything specifically related to the lockout. Great, David Stern gets to know what it's like to have a conversation where you can't talk abou the elephant in the room for once. 

Original report: Deron Williams is headed to Istanbul. Every NBA player on the planet has  mentioned considering going abroad to play. But the question is, can they? 

Well, the answer is, "yes of course." There's nothing to stop a team from signing a player for their individual league or exhibition play. However, when those teams enter into international competitions such as EuroLeague or EuroCup, that's when FIBA gets involved. FIBA is the governing body for determining the eligibility of players for those international competitions and as such, they have a huge say on whether NBA players can play overseas during the lockout. FIBA has yet to rule on the matter, but HoopsWorld reports that the head of FIBA, Patrick Baumann, will meet with David Stern this week to discuss the issues. The ramifications could be astounding.
Baumann is expected to meet with NBA commissioner David Stern this week in hopes of crafting guidance for its member teams and federations on how to handle not only NBA players seeking jobs abroad, but also how to deal with the insurance issues that are surfacing with regards to national teams and the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Under a long standing agreement between the NBA and FIBA, the NBA covers one-third of the insurance costs associated with NBA players playing in national team competitions and tournaments. Another third is covered by the national team and the final third is covered by FIBA.

Since the NBA's self-imposed lockout on July 1st, the NBA is no longer willing to cover those costs.
via NBA AM: FIBA To Meet With NBA - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -

Now before we go too far down the conspiracy lane, keep in mind that the league has repeatedly said it will not do anything to prohibit players from playing in Europe. There's good reason. Locking out the players to prevent them from earning a living and then doing anything to threaten their ability to earn a wage elsewhere goes against that whole "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" gig that we're so big on here in the states and opens up the league to a lawsuit. 

But the conversation is significant. Insurance is a huge concern for the players, though the stars can easily get insured thanks to their status. But if FIBA were to rule against the players' eligibility after meeting with Stern, it would immediately quash the players' hopes of going overseas (teams wouldn't want them if they were unavailable for those competitions in most cases) and create more anomosity between the league and the players, even if Stern himself had nothing to do with the decision. 

It's a delicate meeting, is what I'm trying to get at. 

Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 2:45 pm

Reports: Deron Williams headed to Turkey

Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver. deron-williams

Update (2:43 p.m.): Ken Berger throws some water on the fun, citing an agent with connections in Turkey who says "I'll believe it when I see it."

Update (11:00 a.m.)
 ESPN.com reported Thursday that "sources with knowledge of Deron Williams' plans confirm his intent to play for Besiktas in Turkey if lockout continues."

Original Post:
A Turkish television station is reporting Thursday that Besiktas, a Turkish professional basketball team, has an agreement in principle with Deron Williams to play for them during the lockout.  


Williams, who is under contract for 2011-2012 with the New Jersey Nets, would have to obtain FIBA clearance before heading to Istanbul. A source informed Ken Berger of CBSSports.com Thursday morning that the Nets had not been made aware of any such offer. That does not preclude such an offer from having been made, just that the Nets aren't aware of such an offer, though you would think they'd have some idea of the legitimacy if things were this far along. 

Williams heading overseas would be the kind of substantial move from an All-Star that could actually put the fear of God into ownership. If a wide enough swath of players are able to make decent money overseas during the lockout, that kind of takes the bite out of the lockout, the entire point of this ridiculous power play. Essentially, the owners' ability to starve the union out would be mitigated, even with lesser players unlikely to be offered similar contracts. If enough players can find ways to create income and keep the union's position strong, the owners lose their biggest power position.

The flip side is that Deron Williams is playing in Turkey, though I'm sure Istanbul is very nice. With a wife and new daughter, that can be draining in terms of travel, though probably not moreso than the normal amount of travel he does during the course of the NBA season. Additionally, television reports of this nature are often sketchy and it wouldn't be the first time an international team has leaked information about a possible signing of a major American player before the chickens were hatched. We'd advise a healthy dose of skepticism here. 

Williams would join Allen Iverson among point guards labeled (under false pretenses or not) coach killers who have played in Turkey for Besiktas. FIBA has not released an official statement regarding their plans for clearance during the lockout.  

(HT: IamaGM.com)
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:33 pm

Parker says the window has closed for the Spurs

Tony Parker says Spurs "can no longer say" they are playing for a title. 

Posted by Matt Moore

The Spurs certainly looked throughout the regular season as if they'd still be playing right now. They looked like they had one more glorious run left in them, a last chance to face down the Lakers, overcome and win an NBA title to send their own version of the Big 3 (which has been around a lot longer than the others) off into the sunset in style. It was perfect. And everything came apart, thanks to the very thing that won them so many titles, defense. They couldn't stop the Grizzlies and had to rely on their offense to create. It simply wasn't there.

The Celtics and Lakers have both pledged that this season isn't the end for them, even though they, like the Spurs, are at home watching younger, hungrier teams compete for the gold. Championship caliber experienced teams don't implode, really, they have to be dragged and pried apart with crowbars and heavy equipment.  Except that Tony Parker, in an interview on the FIBA website where he says he will put more and wear tear on his wheels playing for France his summer, went ahead and made it clear he thinks the window is closed. From FIBA.com: 

Parker says that age has finally caught up with the Spurs.

"At the start of the season I said this was our last chance," he said.

"Tim and Gino (Manu Ginobili) are getting old. It's going to be tough to regenerate ourselves.

"We will always have a good team but we can no longer say that we're playing for a championship."
via FRA – Parker: "Lockout or no lockout, I will play for France" | FIBA.COM.

Whether that's a demand on ownership to rebuild the roster to make them contenders or defeatism remains to be seen. But for a guy who the Spurs just gave a huge extension, to, it's got to be concerning to have him shut the door on title contention while Tim Duncan's NBA career is still breathing. An old roster can still win a title, it just has to be surrounded by the right pieces. Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, and Matt Bonner weren't the right pieces. But no matter how bleak the situation, the star point guard, the youngest of your team's Big 3 shouldn't be admitting the run is over in the press. 

I'm sure Coach Popovich is just going to think this kind of attitude is swell. 

(HT SBNation.com)
Posted on: September 29, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 10:59 am

D-League adding in FIBA goaltending rule

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA uses the D-League as a place for young players to work on their game, build up a reputation and at some point, maybe have a chance to be called to the professional level. And the same goes for new rules.

Sometimes, the D-League is used as a place to experiment with new rules to see how they operate in a live professional basketball game. And that's what will happen this season, as the famous FIBA goaltending rule will be brought over to the D-League.

A refresher in case you forgot: The FIBA goaltending rule basically says that once the ball hits the iron, it can be knocked off. In the NBA, if the ball is in the "cylinder" it has to be left there until it either falls off the rim or bounces in. But now, players can jump up and clear the ball off the rim.

As Scott Schroeder of FanHouse mentioned, these rule changes are rumored to have been a request from the NBA as an experiment, possibly similar to the D-League's testing of a new, synthetic basketball before its official use in the NBA for the 2006-2007 season. The new basketball didn't make it very long though in the NBA as NBA commissioner David Stern brought back the traditional leather basketball less than halfway into the season because of complaints from players.

This isn't the first time the NBA has tried this though. The goaltending rule was altered in the D-League in 2005, but that change only lasted one year. Schroeder surmises this change is a response by the NBA to FIBA's institution of a few new NBA-like rules into FIBA internernational play. Secretary general of FIBA, Patrick Baumann, made a comment prior to the World Championships about hoping for the goaltending rule change to come over. And it looks like David Stern gave him his wish. At least in the D-League.

So what to make of the rule change? Most people love the FIBA goaltending rule because it makes for an exciting moment when a player realizes the ball has bounced two or three times and he goes up and clears it. It's like the basketball equivalent of robbing someone of a home run. Though in the NBA where players are far more athletic, it might be difficult for the rule to be as successful because of the nature of playing above the rim. What if the score drops dramatically? What if it slows the game down because of the extra whistles? Or what if there's an extremely controversial call in a big game?

The rule is great in international play because it's kind of this kitschy, but unique rule that adds in interesting dynamic to the FIBA games. But I'm not so sure that it'll work for 82 games a year in the NBA. But hey, that's why they're trying it out in the D-League first.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 11:42 am

Shootaround 9.9.10: Dwight grants a big wish

Rodman's overheard orgy, Artest's ring on the market, and Bogut's MRI.
Posted by Matt Moore
Get your Kleenex ready. The Orlando Sentinel  reports of a visit from Dwight Howard to a woman dying of Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma. The one wish from a dying woman? A visit from the Orlando All-Star. It's a touching story, one that wound up with Howard being the one changed by the visit. Howard is in a unique position for these types of life-changing events. His relationship with his faith may come under constant scrutiny because of his fame, but it also equips him for times like these, comforting a woman on her way out with laughter and compassion.

Ron Artest is selling his championship ring , for charity, before he even has a chance to wear it. NBA.com reports that Artest will sell the ring without putting it on in a fundraiser to help put more mental health professionals in school. This comes on the heels of Artest working in schools to promote good mental health. It's indicative of a drastic reversal in public perception, with Artest going from being considered crazy in the negative, non-serious sense to really putting himself forward as a champion for the cause of mental health intervention. Standing "O" for Crazy Pills.

Dwyane Wade is in court this week for the custody case of his children. His lawyer is recommending custody for Wade, obviously, and there's a lawyer for the boys with three recommendations in play. All three recommendations feature Wade in a custody position to some degree. It would appear the talk of family being important for Wade is talk that's being walked, in this instance.

Depressing news out of Sacramento , as police are investigating vandalism of a Kings mural with a swastika that may be related to Kings' Israeli player Omri Casspi. Seriously, folks. We can move past this, right? The vandals really should watch the kid pass in transition. It's hard to hate him after that.

Andrew Bogut is seeing a hand specialist and having an MRI done . Nothing to worry about, really. After all, there's still like, two weeks before training camp...wait, that's not much time at all. Dang.

So Dennis Rodman? Yeah, he went to a party, and was MC'ing, and then left his microphone on when he went upstairs. That's embarrassing. Wait, what's that you say? He was upstairs having sex with six women? What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Icky. But hey, good to know that just like his playing days, Rodman is hyper-efficient. At least those guests that overheard him on the microphone downstairs can cross "eavesdrop on Dennis Rodman in an orgy" off their bucket list.

Spain fell to Serbia yesterday, in a minor upset. Here's how Spain unraveled . It was a shocking loss for Spain, and for those that believe that Ricky Rubio can actually walk on water, part the seas, and hit a jumpshot.

A look back at Dwight Howard's career nights . It's posts like this that make you think twice before criticizing his play too much.

If you have Raptor fan friends, prepare for them to be a grumpy bunch next season . They're gaining a great scorer (as he's shown in World play) in Linas Kleiza, but they're worried about his usage. They have a dynamic scorer in Andrea Bargnani, who, quite honestly, they hate because he doesn't rebound. There's just a lot of bad blood there right now.

I can answer this question . Does Luke Harangody have a role with the Celtics? Sure. Someone's gotta be mascot.

Jared Dudley is resigned to a good-faith situation with the Suns. That rarely works out well in the A. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com