Dwyane Wade was offered a reported $2 million a month to play in China (UPDATE! No he wasn’t). Marco Belinelli is likely off to Italy. Patty Mills and Ersan Ilyasova are off to Turkey. Jordan Farmar and Trevor Booker are off to the motherland, and compromise seems off the table as Billy Hunter made the panicky power-grabby statement that he believes the entire 2011-12 season will be canceled. But here’s what I’m wondering – and I’m really only wondering, not claiming to wonder when in actuality I have a fully formed belief in my head that I’m just presenting as wonder – don’t all these out-clauses in overseas contracts undercut the NBA? I usually try to avoid contract discussions and financial issues in basketball because that’s not part of the game I enjoy. But this part has made it so that the part I enjoy may not happen. This is a situation in which the players are demanding more money and the league says it cannot afford to give it to them. But what is the league’s leverage if players can still make a living playing basketball elsewhere? Yes, they’re making far less revenue overseas than they would in the NBA, but the damage to them is far less than the damage to owners if they manufacture no product in the next year. This is like when I was grounded from watching the big television in the living room, but still allowed to watch the tiny TV in my own bedroom. Sure, the big TV was better, but it wasn’t like I was missing episodes of Knight Rider! Deron Williams remains the only big name to jump ship, but he won’t be the last. There are too many sharks in the water for only one to eat. And now if I may transition from a metaphor to a simile, this all still feels like a game of chicken between both sides, but the cliff is fast approaching and the players have about 10 more feet of land than the owners.
Here’s what else is happening in fantasy basketball a month into the lockout:
Tom Thibodeau – I can’t imagine what ol’ Thibs is doing to keep himself busy. I wile away a lot of hours thinking about this.
Marcin Gortat – Told a roomful of kids at a recent basketball camp that Robin Lopez purposely sent him to the wrong place for his first day of practice after joining the Suns in January. This one’s on Tater Gortat. If he couldn’t have taken one look at Lopez and realized he was not a man who should be listened to, then he deserved whatever he had coming to him.
Brandon Jennings – Interning with Under Armour, the company with which he has an endorsement deal. Although I’m pretty sure an endorsement ceases to be an endorsement once you begin working for the company. Jennings is just an Under Armour employee now.
Kevin Love – Turning his attentions to beach volleyball, starting with a debut in the Manhattan Beach Open later this month. I assume this decision was predicated on his bro-beard and not on his three-inch vertical.
Kevin Durant – Keeping the Kevin theme going, the Velvet Hoop dropped 66 points on a bunch of (relative) nobodies Monday night in Harlem’s Rucker Park. Those in attendance loved it and the YouTube clip(s) have made their way around the Interwebs. I’m glad it ended this way and not, “Jordan Crawford dunked in my eye and now my boys need to confiscate a few cell phones.”
Amar’e Stoudemire – STAT’s back is still bothering him and he’s admitted to not doing anything to rest it this offseason. Isn’t there a New Yorker out there willing to chloroform this guy in order to slow him down a bit? I’m under the impression New Yorkers solve everything with chloroform.