Imagine this: Amar’e Stoudemire putting up elbow jumpers in the Holy Land. Kobe posting up in Rome after a stroll down the Spanish Steps. And most realistically, Deron Williams trading Russian billionaire for Turkish Delight in Istanbul. If D-Will is giving us good info, then this just might be the case – ever since, Williams announced his plans to migrate to the Turkish team, Besiktas, rumors have swirled about locked-out NBAers starting up a mass migration to Europe to play ball in 2011-12. Now Deron has said that he’ll rejoin New Jersey if and when an agreement for the new collective bargaining is reached, but has put it under this Stonehenge caveat: “If the proposal (the owners) have, if that’s what they’re sticking with and that’s what they want, then I think it would be hard for a lot of guys to come back to the NBA.” Hmm. So does this mean we’ll have to spring for the international dish package? Because if it comes with a ton of soccer channels, we’re out. Let’s be real for a second here: if this whole deal – the “sources say” and the ESPN blast and the sit-down with Chris Broussard – doesn’t reek of negotiating ploy, then we’re gonna have to shut down the olfactory. Do the players really think a mass exodus is possible? Or even smart? Especially when the reputation for so many of these European clubs is their trouble with making payroll. And guess who doesn’t have a regulatory body with the power to enforce payroll defaults (and don’t say FIBA)? Yes, you guess it, those beautiful European destinations. Don’t get us wrong, playing overseas is a great idea for locked-out players to A) stay in shape, B) make some money, and C) REALLY piss off their owners – but as a long-term solution, we just don’t see it … And with all that, news continues to come in about players checking out the sites and sounds (and dollars and cents) of the overseas basketball market. While most are looking for opportunities to play ball with an out clause – for when this nasty little lockout is over – at least two guys (Sonny Weems, Darius Songalia) have inked themselves into Europe for the full next year no matter what. Now it’s not a huge surprise that a few deep rotation guys are trading in fighting late first-half minutes to be a big dog on a Euro club, but it is a really really really bad sign for hoops fans for guys to sign deals without out clauses. If we were in the business of creating abstract theories with little to no solid fact, we’d say dudes getting deals with no opt outs means dudes are full-on not expecting to play next year. This makes us sad. And it just made us throw up … The Sixers are interested in moving John Hollinger’s favorite player, Marreese Speights and his incredible PER and per-48 minute adjusted stats … Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped 21, Jeremy Lamb hit the game-winner and the US beat Australia by one, escaping the U19 World Championships with a fifth-place finish. While they underachieved, new Raptor Jonas Valanciunas straight blew up. He averaged 23, 14 (with three blocks) on nearly 60% shooting and over 81% from the line. That’s the sound of Toronto fans cheering in the streets … And now that Jeff Van Gundy is saying Yao Ming is definitely a Hall of Famer, the debate is over right? He’s usually pretty good with giving accurate future assessments … We’re out like Van Gundy’s predictions.
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