NBA Rumors: Top 10 Players Who May Play Overseas Next Season
Now that the NBA lockout is well underway, rumors abound that many of the league’s players will now look to play overseas next season.
And seeing as though some players—such as David Anderson, Hilton Armstrong, Nenad Krstic, Sonny Weems, Mustafa Shakur and DaJuan Summers—have already signed contracts across the pond, it’s reasonable to expect more to follow.
However, there are still some roadblocks which could prevent the NBA’s best and brightest from playing overseas.
First and foremost is that there are only a limited number of spots available on overseas teams, and these clubs will probably not want to waste their roster space on a temporary player, especially if they are in a league which limits the number of foreign-born players.
Additionally, all players under contract with an NBA team will need FIBA to sign off on their non-NBA contracts—which may never even happen.
And even if these contracts were able to be formulated, they may not even prove to be that beneficial for NBA players.
One reason for this is that overseas basketball teams have drastically smaller payrolls than their US counterparts—a fact made even more damning when one considers that big-time NBA players would need to pay large sums of money for injury insurance.
And given that the Players’ Association has long been urging their players to financially prepare for a lockout—and that they are even providing facilities for practice and rehab—it seems as though most NBA players will ultimately stay put.
So what types of players might leave then?
Well, it looks as though it will mostly be guys who were on their way out of the NBA already.
And in addition to them, it’s probably safe to assume that players who are free agents and those with overseas backgrounds might look to make the jump.
So even though those guidelines significantly cut the population of players who would consider playing abroad, there are still a few big names left.
Consequently, we are now left with the question of who will play overseas next season.
Well, this slideshow will attempt to answer that question, providing a list of 10 players who could very well be playing outside of the NBA in the coming year.
Rudy Fernandez was a star overseas well before he played his first NBA game.
Playing for DKV Joventut, he took home multiple individual awards and excelled for the Spanish national team, before ultimately ending up on the Portland Trail Blazers.
However, this is where the story sours, since there were some rumblings about Fernandez feeling unhappy with his situation in Portland over the past year.
And while he was recently traded to the Dallas Mavericks, there is no doubt that his comfort level is still at its highest back in Spain.
So when news broke that Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid was hotly pursuing the 6'6" wing, while offering loads of cash and possibly even the option of returning to the NBA, it certainly now looks like Fernandez may be heading back overseas at some point next season.
In the 2010-11 NBA season, Patty Mills finally carved out a place for himself in the NBA, earning the backup point guard spot on the Portland Trail Blazers.
However, the 22-year-old is now a free agent, and with his good friend Rudy Fernandez now gone from the Blazers, Mills may look to exercise his contractual freedom to pursue an overseas contract.
Consequently, it would not be that surprising to see him return to his native Australia, were he plays on the national team and was visible in raising money to help the victims of this past year's floods.
And even if he doesn't, it would not be surprising to see Mills go to Europe, where he would have a chance to make more money and play against tougher competition.
After turning in a number of highly productive campaign for the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko has seen his role on the team diminish over the past few seasons.
Moreover, following the trade of Deron Williams and Utah's subsequent youth movement, it would not be surprising to see the 30-year-old look to make a move.
And given that he is now a free agent and that he has spoken about playing overseas, he could very well land on a European roster by next season.
After four season with the New Jersey Nets, Brian Scalabrine went on to sign a five-year, $15 million deal with the Boston Celtics.
However, that deal has since ended, and last season he played sparsely for the Chicago Bulls under a non-guaranteed contract.
And now a free agent, the 33-year-old, sweet-shooting, 6'9" forward-center's NBA days may be nearing their end.
So given that he even mentioned that he's considering a move to Europe, Scalabrine may very well be the next NBA players to move overseas.
After carving out a respectable career as a power forward for three different franchises, Carl Landry now enters the lockout as a free agent.
And while a player of his caliber would have no trouble finding an NBA suitor, his combination of talent and availability have several European teams intrigued.
In fact, Armani Jeans Milano has even offered the 27-year-old a contract.
Nevertheless, Landry has yet to comment on whether he actually intends to go overseas, but if there is little progress on a new CBA in the coming months, it would not be surprising to see him head to Europe.
After an eight-year NBA career with six different teams, Darius Songaila barely saw the court in the 2010-11 season.
Consequently, the 33-year-old free agent appears to be on his way out of the league.
Nevertheless, the Lithuanian forward-center has still generated a decent amount of interest from Europe, so it would not be shocking to see Songaila signing with a non-NBA club before next season.
Serge Ibaka first garnered NBA attention for his skills overseas, and with a lockout looming, it wouldn't be too surprising to see the young forward-center look to make a return to his roots.
In fact, the 6'10" Congolese forward-center has even stated that he would be willing to return to the Spanish ACB, where he played just prior to making his jump to the NBA.
However, that could very well be a pipe dream, seeing as though he is still under contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and therefore, he would need FIBA's approval to pursue any non-NBA contract.
Brandon Jennings was a pioneer of sorts, skipping college and playing overseas for a year to fulfill the age requirement to enter the NBA draft.
Consequently, his name is often brought up when considering which players may look overseas during the lockout.
However, Jennings has shot down, but not entirely dismissed this thought, declaring that "at this point" he is not considering going back overseas.
Nevertheless, with a long, drawn-out labor negotiation ahead, the young Milwaukee Buck could very well change his mind.
Ron Artest has been spending a lot of time lately discussing the prospect of playing overseas on his Twitter page, even going so far as to list the countries in which he would most like to play.
Moreover, given that money is not his sole motivating factor—he planned on donating his 2011-12 salary to charity—is very likely that Artest would be willing to take a big pay cut to play overseas during the lockout.
Therefore, the only real problem is that he is still under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, so he would need FIBA's permission to sign with an overseas club.
So if FIBA ultimately decides to let NBA players sign non-NBA contracts, we could easily see Artest playing overseas next season.
While some of the NBA's stars may not look to sign with overseas teams during the lockout due to things like contractual issues or insurance concerns, players like Kobe Bryant have come up with a possible solution—barnstorming.
This solution would call for some the big-name players to travel around together and take part in a few high-profile exhibition games, which would most likely take place in China.
Therefore, should the lockout drag on for a substantial amount of time, we could very well see some of the best NBA players taking part in games overseas.
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