With the lockout preventing the free agent frenzy that ensues during a typical NBA offseason, the hot topic of discussion has been whether or not NBA players will play in Europe in light of the current work stoppage.
Let’s put the lockout aside for a moment. Are there players on NBA rosters whose respective teams would actually pay them to play overseas, due to poor play, not meshing well with their current teammates or unsavory contract situations?
While I am sure there are players on every NBA team who fall into this category, I have decided to focus on members of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here are the players the Lakers would pay to play overseas.
With his aging body, Derek Fisher’s overall production at the point guard position has been one of the team’s biggest weaknesses the last couple of seasons.
But Derek Fisher is considered one of the greatest role players in team history, having played a crucial role on five championship teams while wearing purple and gold.
So, despite the underwhelming play the last few seasons, Fisher is exempt from being included as a player the team would consider paying to play overseas, given his place in team history.
Despite Ron Artest still being the Los Angeles Lakers’ best individual defender, his presence wasn’t felt nearly as much last season as it was in his first season with the team.
Artest averaged career lows in points and rebounds, in addition to his usually stellar defense slipping a little.
Artest’s inconsistent season has fans wondering if he didn’t hit his peak as a member of the Lakers in 2009-10.
There have been reports Artest is going to play for the British Basketball League’s Cheshire Jets if the lockout continues. Maybe the Lakers would be willing to pay him a few pounds in advance to get his career started in England.
Yes, Matt Barnes is on the “the team should pay him to play overseas” list. But there are players in this slideshow who the team would pay to play overseas long before they would Barnes.
I have always been a huge fan of Barnes’ scrappy, aggressive play. Therefore, when the Lakers signed him last offseason, I was giddy.
But a combination of a midseason knee injury, which sidelined him for eight weeks, and only playing 19 minutes a game (his lowest average since '05-06), prevented Barnes from finding his groove last season.
But I am certainly willing to give Barnes a second chance. With a larger sample size of games and minutes, he will hopefully prove why I was excited about him coming to the Lakers in the first place.
The only highlight Steve Blake had in 2011 was the release of a video showing him fighting a teammate during a practice while playing at the University of Maryland.
Blake was signed by the Lakers in the summer of 2010 in hopes he would improve the team’s outside shooting and poor point guard play.
Blake averaged a career low in points (4.0) and shot less than 38 percent from the field for only the second time in his career.
Things only got worse for Blake in the playoffs, when his points per game decreased from four to two.
Believe it or not, Luke Walton averaged 33 minutes, 11 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006-07.
But due to injuries and fighting for playing time with better players than he did earlier in his career, Walton’s minutes and overall production have drastically declined in recent years.
In the last two seasons combined, Walton has averaged nine minutes and two points per game.
Who knows, with his nagging back injuries, Walton may decide to retire early to continue his coaching career.