Canadian League Opens Doors To NBA Players

With the NBA lockout in full swing everyone seems to think many NBA players will try to find jobs overseas. Rudy Fernandez flirted with heading to Spain during the lockout before deciding to honor his contract in the NBA (now with the Mavericks). Tony Parker suggested at one point he might play in France while waiting for the end of the lockout. And the rumors have run from there — you hear the one about Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady or even Deron Williams going to Turkey?

Many European leagues have restrictions on how many foreign players they can have on their roster. Despite how much those fans may want to see an exodus of NBA players to the Euroleague next year, it just may not happen because of these restrictions.

So how about a little closer to home, eh?

Andre Levingston, the president of the National Basketball League of Canada, is trying to make a splash for his league’s inaugural season. He invited the NBA’s stars to take their talents to the Great White North and play in the Canadian league.

“What a great opportunity for NBA players,” Levingston said in a media release. “NBL Canada can provide them with highly competitive play in professional arenas with great fan bases, while still being relatively close to home.”

Can you imagine it?

You could have LeBron James suiting up for the Halifax Rainmen or Kobe Bryant leading the Quebec Kebs along with Derrick Rose wearing the colors of the Saint John Mill Rats. Yeah, I cannot imagine it either.

The three-team league is set to begin play in December at some point, but if this NBA idea gets some traction, maybe sooner. I highly doubt it. I mean the teams are led by such superstar players as Josh Dollard (17.3 points per game for the Rainmen), Quinnel Brown (20.6 points per game for the Kebs) and Anthony Anderson (19.1 points per game for the Mill Rats).

The three teams splintered off from the Pro Basketball League which featured teams all around the northeast. This is not the cream of the crop of basketball competition though (think Arena Football League 2).

Don’t expect this league to be the last to try and poach NBA players and open their doors. They got mentioned here and I guess that is a victory. But no NBA player will be playing in Canada this year… except for the Raptors.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily