Call it nothing. Call it no big deal. I call it the trump card NFL players don’t have. More and more players, especially foriegn players, are taking their talents across the pond to play basketball. Even reports today suggesting a legit all-star in Deron Williams might be going to Turkey suggest that this might not just be a decision for only foriegn players and the less wealthy. These guys have a place to go and get paid.
The NFL players, do not have the same kind of options. Playing football is much more high risk, and to choose to do so for pennies on the dollar in Canada or inside on a 50-yard field just isn’t worth it for most guys. So it is in those players best interest to get a deal done so they can get paid to play their sport. They don’t have any other legit alternatives.
But NBA players do. The rise of basketball talent and leagues around the world have given these guy options. You will make less, but can still make millions to play overseas. And more and more guys are taking that route. And why not? They are getting options that they can leave at the conclusion of the lockout, if it ends this year. The NBA player is the highest paid worker, on average $5.8 million, in the world. A lot of these guys can simply wait out the owners, and those that don’t want to, can choose to keep playing and be well compensated, with no consequences, by going overseas.
Because of the popularity of basketball, European teams are spending more than ever on their talent. It’s why we’ve seen American players go over there to play. Iverson, Marbury, Josh Childress, and other younger fringe players have taken the plunge. The floodgates are open, and while NBA players would rather make more and work in America, they are willing to make some money while fighting to preserve their system in the NBA that makes them the highest paid athletes around.
Bad, bad news for us, the fans. These players are going to be content to sit out the season if necessary putting the pressure on the owners to cave. The owners have more to lose. Relationships, advertisers, marketing partners, and associating businesses will all suffer without the NBA. Owners will be losing money and burning bridges if they don’t move.
The waiting game is more even that ever, and that is terrible news for those that want to see basketball in America. Just like fighting parents, we, the kids, suffer.