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How many NBA players will head to Europe?

Now that New Jersey guard Deron Williams has decided to play in Turkey next season, how many other players will follow suit and head overseas?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 10, 2011

There is so much uncertainty that the possibility of NBA teams voiding contracts of any player who makes the jump has been raised. While that option might be a long shot, teams certainly can terminate contracts of players who sustain severe injuries while overseas. It would be viewed no differently than a player sustaining injury while riding a motorcycle, for example.

Williams, who signed a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million with the Turkish club Besiktas, would be tied with Chris Paul as the league's 13th highest paid player next season, earning more than $16.3 million. Though he reportedly already has started the process of securing insurance in the event of injury, Williams risks forfeiting the final $34 million of his guaranteed money with the Nets over the next two seasons.

Still, Williams says other players are genuinely interested in following in his footsteps.

“I've talked to a lot of players, you would be surprised,” Williams told “I talked to a few before and I knew some guys were considering it as well. But since it came out, it was just like a snowball of guys calling me (saying), ‘What are you doing? When are you leaving?' And guys want to go too. They want to do it.”

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka recently said if the lockout drags on he would like to return to Spain, where he played for two seasons and resides in the off-season. Former Thunder center Nenad Krstic has already signed to play in Russia. Many more NBA players, including stars as big as Kobe Bryant, have reportedly expressed an interest as well.

“It's more about the experience,” Williams told “Experience and being able to compete and play basketball.

“I don't want to sit around. That's what the NBA wants us to do right now. They locked us out of our gyms. They locked us out of facilities. We got to find somewhere on our own to go hoop, to put games together. I don't have to do that. I've got a team. I'm going to go through organized practices. I'm going to be in game situations. So if the lockout is lifted, I'm going to be ready to play.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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Section 4. Best efforts of Players Association

The Players Association will use its best efforts: (a) to prevent each player from rendering, or threatening to render, services as a professional basketball player for another professional basketball team during the term of a Player Contract between such player and the Team for which he plays (except as said Player Contract may be assigned, sold, or transferred in accordance with the provisions of such Player Contract or this Agreement)...

Source: 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement


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