Either No One Or Everyone Is Following Deron Williams To Europe - The Downbeat - #528

   Reactions to Deron Williams heading to Turkey in the fall were all over the spectrum on the web.  Stephen A. Smith went so far as to call him a filthy rich scab.  Henry Abbott likes the move.

His motive for doing so though remains unclear.  He will get a reported $5M with an immediate out clause should the NBA resume.  Is it for the money?  Five million is about a third of what he would make in the NBA this season.  So while it's a pay cut, five million is more than zero.  He could probably get by without getting a paycheck next season, but if the money will be there, there's certainly an incentive to do while still staying in shape.

Is he doing it as part of a plan the NBAPA has drummed up?  It certainly could apply some pressure to the owners if more players start heading overseas.  I wrote previously that the players need to do something different this time around.  Other basketball leagues aren't on the NBA's level but they're light years from where they were in 1998-99.  If more players head over, it gives them a bit of leverage as they would be better equipped to withstand the financial stress of a lockout.  If they've already been saving up, they might be able to go for quite a while.

I still don't know why it was Deron though that took the first leap.  Of all the big(ger)-name players in the league, he seems the most unlikely in my mind to be the first.  I was highly skeptical when the first report came out yesterday of the deal.  Maybe he's the perfect player to do so though.  Though the same Turkish team expressed interest in Kobe Bryant, I don't see the mega-stars playing elsewhere.  Deron is a big enough star to get national and world exposure yet isn't above playing for a lesser salary and a lesser league.

So whether this was a calculated move by Deron and the NBAPA or simply Deron wanting to play ball, the players have positioned themselves a little better this time around.

Sam Amick has more on this

And make sure you read this hilarious take

  Two very good lockout articles

Ken Berger provides his solution to the NBA cap
The NBA can't fix its competitive imbalance problem without revenue sharing. But revenue sharing will be for naught if the gap between the big spenders and non-spenders isn't narrowed significantly. When luxury-tax payments (both paid and received) are factored in for the 2010-11 season, the Lakers ($112 million), Magic ($111 million) and Mavericks ($104 million) each will have spent more than double the four lowest-paying teams: the Cavaliers and Timberwolves (both $51.9 million), Clippers ($49.4 million) and Kings ($42 million), according to data compiled from league salary figures. (And remember: More than $12 million of Minnesota's payroll was because of buyouts, principally Curry's.)

NBA Lockout: Rising Team Values Show That Owners Are Hiding The Gold - SBNation.com
As the NBA lockout crawls on, we're left to wonder that if the league is in such financial peril, why are very rich men paying huge sums of money to get a team?

  Looks like AK won't be playing for Spain.  From Steve Luhm,

According to Marca.com, Kirilenko recently approached Spanish League power Real Madrid about a contract, but the club balked over his $5.8 million salary request.    

From the article (I'm assuming that's the one since a link isn't provided), it doesn't sound so much like the team is balking at the amount, just that it wasn't budgeted for (Google translate),

Andrei Kirilenko was offered last week for the eaves . The Russian international, who wants to return to Europe , asked for a contract for 4 million per season. The figure is not in the budget of the Bernabeu next season, even though that can make a large investment because the approach was to hire Rudy and had a budget line for this signing.

I'd be shocked if AK isn't playing somewhere this season if the lockout wipes out games.  

  As with most NBA players, Paul Millsap is heading up a basketball summer camp, his first:

I don't want to receive anything out of it," he said. "Just to come here and give my knowledge of the basketball game to these younger kids, that gives me joy to see these kids out here working hard every day to get better. ... I'm to the point now where I can give back more than what I have been, and to help my family out means a lot to me. That's the biggest part right now for me.    

  Friday open poll...  Have you run into any Jazz players this summer?  If you work for the Jazz, you'll have to include only pre-July 1st contact :).

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