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Wait, D-Will wants to do what?

Deron Williams announced today that if the NBA isn't playing games come the end of October, he's going to take his talents to Turkey.  No, that is not a typo.  Williams is exploring the opportunity to play overseas, and he's not alone in that category, in the event that the lockout continues into the regular season.

Certainly he can't be serious, right?  I mean, this has to be a power play by one of the premier guards in the league to leverage power in negotiations.  D-Will wouldn't possibly venture into Turkey just to play a few games while the NBA sorts this mess out.

Nope, the reports sound like he is fairly confident in this plan.  And I cannot help but think this strategy is as idiotic as it is short-sighted.  Let's say that Williams actually suits up for Besiktas, what would it mean for him, the Nets and Besiktas?

For Williams and Besiktas, they have to figure out a way to pay for the insurance that would cover Williams while he plays internationally.  That burden, normally covered by the Nets, falls on the player and international team.  Additionally, they will have to negotiate a contract, likely on a per-game basis since it is unlikely that Williams plays for an entire season.  Even a mercenary appearance such as this will not come cheap, especially for a point guard of Williams's caliber.  And while this would not be problematic for an NBA team, European teams do not have the kind of income nor popularity to support these endeavors.  Remember all that talk about basketball players flooding to Europe after Josh Childress signed with Olympiakos?  It never occurred because European teams, with exception for an infinitesimally small minority percentage, could not afford NBA stars.

Let's say that Williams hypothetically takes a pay cut to play, and they manage to cover his insurance.  He steps on the court and in the game twists an ankle badly, tears a muscle, or breaks a bone.  The Nets now have the ability to cut his contract entirely if they want.  I admit, it is highly unlikely that they would considering the Nets are still delusional and believe that Williams will stick around long-term.  But just as Monta Ellis faced a voiding of his contract after his moped accident, Williams could see the same situation.  Admittedly, it is highly unlikely that this occurs, but is it even worth the risk?  If Williams suffers a career-altering injury, does he really want to forgo the $18 million the Nets owe him over the next two seasons?

As for the Nets, most of their options were indirectly covered in the preceding discussions.  They want to build around Williams, Brook Lopez and their to-be Brooklyn stadium.  The organization has to be somewhat concerned that their franchise player would rather take his chances for a couple of weeks in Turkey than he would with the Nets.  D-Will shoves the Nets between a rock and a hard place: if he goes and does get hurt, they'll want to cut him to save money, but they also will have an incentive to keep him since they are planning their future on him.

Ultimately the likelihood of any of this is low at best.  Each time a player treks to Europe, Brandon Jennings skipping college, Jeremy Tyler skipping his senior year, Josh Childress signing as a free agent, the media cries wolf about American players flooding the European leagues.  The talk of D-Will (and apparently now Kobe) moving to Turkey is nothing more than a tactical move by the players to put pressure on the owners.  Now the real question: will the owners bite or stand their ground?


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