Well, folks, we have our first superstar heading overseas to ride out the lockout. New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams has reportedly reached an agreement in principle to join Turkish team Beskitas.
Williams will sign a contract with Besiktas that will allow him to return to NBA as soon as the lockout ends. Nevertheless it is the greatest summer transfer by a European club, so far.
Williams who was traded to New Jersey Nets earlier this season after a fall out with the former team coach Jerry Sloan would be receiving $16,000,000 this year, but obviously doesn’t want to stay inactive during the lockout.
The 27 year old will reportedly receive $200,000 per month.
How’s that for a shot across the bow, NBA owners? And here we thought it would be the fringe players making the move across the ocean to survive the lockout. Now Mikhail Prokhorov’s prized player will be balling in Turkey during the lockout, running the risk of injury while the Prudential Center sits empty.
And what happens if Williams, say, twists an ankle, sprains a knee, or worse? How would you like to be the hard-line owner fighting for an extended lockout while star players get hurt in other leagues? Worse, how would you like to be that hard-liner when its one of Prokhorov’s guys that gets hurt?
I’d be sleeping with one eye open.
And if Williams is willing to do it, who’s to say other stars aren’t willing to do it? How long will owners stand pat while their huge investments and futures of their franchises flee the country to keep playing ball?