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Deron Williams Is Really Heading To Turkey? - The Downbeat - #527

  Reports broke this morning that Deron Williams will sign with Turkish basketball club Beşiktaş Cola Turka.  The main source was from thi Turkish TV news site (via Ballin In Europe),

[Google translate]: Beşiktaş Men's Basketball Team, New Jersey Nets had an agreement in principle with Deron Williams. Zaza Pachulia, as well as D-Will's very close to join Besiktas. 27 year old Deron Williams, the Nets before the Utah Jazz, Mehmet Okur was wearing a shirt with.

There have yet to be any confirmations from Deron's camp.  If this goes down, it would be interesting considering that he just signed with a new agent.  Despite no official word yet, there is some legitimacy to this report given that an NBA TV Turkey reporter, Ismail Senol, is reporting that the Beşiktaş Men's coach has stated that Deron would be a big signing.  This is the same team that had Allen Iverson for a stint last season.  He also states that while Deron can sign with the team, FIBA would still have to approve the contract.  His deal would also include a provision to allow him to return to the NBA once the lockout is lifted.

If FIBA does allow it, it would be doing so in direct opposition to David Stern, whom Marc Stein believes would pressure to shoot down such a move,

There's no such clarity when it comes to the likes of Bryant, Nowitzki and Jennings, because all three would remain under contract to their current NBA employers during a lockout. That reality has spawned the widespread belief that the sport's international governing body (FIBA) -- presumably under pressure from David Stern -- would block any player contracted to an NBA team from playing elsewhere, since Stern has staunchly supported the participation of NBA players in FIBA's international tournaments for the past two decades despite the frequent protestations of his owners.     

If a player is still under contract with an NBA team, yet is locked out, is that contract still valid?  That's an answer that goes above my head.

I'm still doubtful on this whole thing.  For one, Deron has stated just how tough it was being away from his family for a prolonged period of time after he was traded.  I can't see him wanting to be away from his family for an entire season or uprooting them again and moving them half way across the globe for an indeterminate amount of time.

Second, Deron is one of the few players in the league that doesn't have to worry about money.  He had a max contract in addition to a lot of sponsorships.  If he wants to play overseas, it's because he wants to remain in shape and keep playing basketball.  While he wouldn't get the same level of workouts and practices that he would with an organized club, I can't imagine that he wouldn't be able to keep up his level of workouts and skills here in the states.

Finally, he can opt out of his deal after next season or pick up his option for $17M.  Who knows what would happen should he get seriously injured while playing in Turkey.  He would no doubt have some sort of insurance, but would the Nets be able to get out of that final year should Deron be injured and not able to play?

If Deron ends up playing for the team, and that's a huge if, then maybe we could see the Jazz of the far east.  AK and Fesenko could sign with the team.  Kanter could sign a similar deal.  Memo could sit behind the bench in street clothes.  It's all going according to plan.

[Note by Basketball John, 07/07/11 9:03 AM MDT ] Marc Stein from ESPN is confirming Deron's intent.

  Speaking of playing overseas, Moni has some great info on a real lead for AK's future.  He could play in Spain next year for four million Euros (the money, not the people)

Andrei Kirilenko offered last week to be [Real Madrid's] forward. The Russian international, who wants to return to Europe, asked for 4 million euros per season. The club doesn't have that much in next year's budget, even though they had set aside a quantity to sign Rudy [Fernandez].

This was discussed on twitter last night by Moni and others, you would have to strongly consider bringing AK back to the Jazz for that money even if you're not a fan.

  Forbes was given detailed financial information from the NBA which shows that the league has lost (raise your pinky finger to your mouth) $1.85B,

Sources close to the NBA labor negotiations have provided Net Income numbers for the league each year over the last five years, plus projected losses for the 2010-11 season. Given that the NBA is saying that they are running at a net loss, as opposed to the NFL, which is saying they are seeing profits declining, the NBA is compelled to open their books as part of labor law, and have done so. The following numbers are audited figures. If the projected figures are correct, the NBA will have lost $1.845 billion over the last 6 years, not turned a profit, as reported by Silver.    

Good luck closing that gap.  See you next year.

  Where does Stockton rank all-time for point guards?  I guess I can live with #2, but I don't agree with this,

It's fitting that Stockton gets ranked second on this list because he was the second-best player on his team after Karl Malone. In my conversations about top point guards with other people, I think that Stockton is always underrated, which I blame on the aforementioned Mailman taking the spotlight (rightly so), playing in Utah versus some of the bigger markets and not winning a title, although coming close. Oddly enough, other than the last point, Stockton probably wouldn't have it any other way.    

It's impossible to say whether Stockton or Malone was the better player.  Both needed each other and fed off each other.  Neither is the player that they were without the other.  I do agree that Stockton will be underrated but if he's second on this list, how underrated could he be?

  It's been a big week for news on former Jazz players.  The latest is Felton Spencer who will be heading to Spalding University as an assistant coach:

Although Spencer has never coached at the collegiate level his time under Coach Denny Crum at the University of Louisville was a tremendous learning experience for him and he hopes that translates into the Spalding program.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to be involved with the program and share what I have learned during my career at the University of Louisville and the NBA with the players," Spencer stated. "I feel that I can help the student athletes at Spalding because I have been through the process as a player and can advise and help guide them as we go through the season."

Coach Spencer's primary role on the staff will be to work with the post players. This is where Felton excelled both in college and the NBA and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the group. He will also play an important role in the recruiting process as Coach Gray continues to build championship caliber teams at Spalding University.