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Berry Tramel: NBA players' threat to go overseas is weak

by Berry Tramel Published: July 17, 2011

/articleid/3586538/1/pictures/1237441">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant reacts during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant reacts during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The NBA has said that during the lockout, it won't restrict players under contract from playing overseas. But get injured over there, and watch the NBA get interested real fast in how much it has to honor its contracts.

There's too much at stake for Durant to seriously consider signing with a team in China, which apparently is gaga over Oklahoma City's beanstalk. Too much to lose for D-Wade to take his talents somewhere other than South Beach.

Loyalty is not an issue here. As Nazr Mohammed said the other day, there's no loyalty in sports other than from fans.

The least loyalty is shown by franchises, which trade players here and there and, since the lockout began, lay off employees even though the teams are out no money yet.

The international threat is not even an economic matter. Every NBA player will receive a hefty paycheck, thanks to escrow money.

Eight percent of each NBA player's salary is withheld each season “to ensure that the players' share of basketball-related income doesn't exceed the contractually agreed-upon percentage, currently 57 percent,” according to NBA.com.

This season, for the first time, the players' share did not exceed the percentage, thus the players get their money back. A minimum-wage player will get $37,888. An average-salaried player will get $456,000. A player making $16 million would get $1.28 million.

So even if these guys haven't been financially prudent, they're about to have some change in their pocket. They don't need Real Madrid to tide them over.

Add it all up, and the talk of signing contracts outside the NBA is lockout bluster.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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