With BallinEurope temporarily stationed in the USA, the business-as-usual machinations of top European clubs and preparations of national teams for Eurobasket 2011 threaten to be lost in a squall of speculation about the NBA lockout – of which amazingly little progress is being seen, by the way. And so, BiE has a few bulleted thoughts, quips and links this morning (afternoon CET time) on Deron Williams and his ilk.
• If Williams in fact does suit up for Beşiktaş Cola Turka come September, won’t he be the first Team USA team member to play in Europe since the days of the (totally awesome) Dirty Dozen? Come to think of it, Trajan Langdon and the guys wouldn’t have even been in USA colors in 1998 had it not been for … a player lockout. Hmmm…
• As for Kobe Bryant joining D-Will and Zaza with Beşiktaş, American media is all over this story despite recent (assumed impermanent) sanctions against club. Coach Ergin Ataman’s quote is getting lots of play already before much of the country even awakens this morning: “It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us.”
(Though we know how it is with European execs and the “facts” sometimes, eh?
• Speaking of quotage, here‘s a rerun from ESPN.com in the afterglow of the Williams announcement from a couple weeks ago. Yeah, you’ve probably seen ‘em already, but BiE loves this stuff way too much not to cut ‘n’ paste.
“If the proposal [the owners] have, if that‘s what they’re sticking with and that’s what they want, then I think it would be hard for a lot of guys to come back to the NBA [from European contracts].”
Also, this one is made more interesting in a what-we-know-now kind of way. Was Williams aware of Beşiktaş’ interest in the ‘Mamba back then…? “[Kobe Bryant] could go make more money overseas, I guarantee you. If [European teams] knew he could be there for a full season, or they knew I could be there for a full season, or they knew LeBron James could be there for a full season, they’ll pay more money, of course.”
• Interestingly, while much of the ‘States fears the European exodus, Hoops World is taking a different tack in wondering whether Continental clubs have “lost leverage” in attracting NBA free agents. According to writer Alex Raskin, “the players’ union will struggle to utilize the interest from abroad as leverage against the owners in the collective bargaining negotiations.”
• A bit surprisingly perhaps, Allen Iverson had nothing but nice words to say about Beşiktaş fans and Turkish basketball recently: “The fans over there are the best [basketball] fans as far as their energy in the building, maybe even more because they keep going during the timeouts and halftime with the chants and everything. They are really into the game.”
So BiE still wonders why A.I. fled so hastily and disappeared, then. It wasn‘t the management, was it…?
• Former European journeyman/Cleveland Cavalier Lance Allred meanwhile offers quite the negative opinion on infrastructure on the Continent: “You’re so used to the comforts of a nice shower, and masseuses. Every European locker room I’ve ever been in doesn’t even live up to my college locker rooms. There [are] grease-stained floors, cockroaches, showerheads that don’t work…”
• No odds are available at the bookmakers on Beşiktaş’ chances in Eurocup and TBL play yet, it seems. Just for the sake of argument, anyone want to speculate…?
• Finally, shameless plug time: Fellow ESPN TrueHoop Network blog Nets Are Scorching gave BiE a call the other night to put together a podcast on D-Will, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sasha Vucajic, three reasons (okay, two) for ‘Jerseyites to pay attention to Turkish ‘ball in 2011. Hear it at the blog from today at 8am EST (2pm CET).