You know who benefits from the NBA player lockout? Twitter, that’s who. The website has become an endless source of interest as each event/non-event transpires in the NBA lockout soap opera. Minute to minute, commentators, players, pundits and rumormongers pithily weigh in and/or report on the immediate future of professional basketball in America…
…and Europe! The Continent-centric BallinEurope has unabashedly become addicted to the little birdie’s ‘site, and yesterday proved quite fruitful for those anxiously awaiting more imports into top pan-European and domestic leagues. After the dismal news of Monday and impending dissolution of the players’ union plus imminent anti-trust lawsuits, more and more stars are finally willing to cut the cord to the NBA, bite the bullet and, you know, try that whole European basketball thing.
Below run the results what BiE’s Twitter scorecard from yesterday; stars include the Gasol Brothers, Kevin Durant, Jan Vesely, Joakim Noah, Tiago Splitter, Kyrie Irving and many more.
• The big deal of the day was reported by SLAM Magazine, among others: “Pau and Marc Gasol to Play in Spain if NBA Season Gets Cancelled.” Pau in particular has been flirting with the possibility of rejoining the Liga Endesa power for some time and this move is seeming evermore inevitable. But sheesh, with a roster including the Gasols, Juan Carlos Navarro and Victor Sada, why don’t they just rename the squad “Team Spain” and be done with it? (Unless, of course, Real Madrid already owns the rights…)
• Walter Sobchak – if that is his real name – of Turkish Hoops poured a little gasoline on fire with his tweet that “Rumor, just a rumor: Kevin Durant, Hedo Turkoglu and Omer Asik to Fenerbahce Ulker?”
Turkey-based Turyiet also speculates on this gossip, but one must remember that Walter is a big propagator of the “#lockoutfantasies” Twitter tag, among which Turkish Hoops dreams that “Reports say Anadolu Efes is very close to reach an agreement with LeBron James” and “Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki to Galatasaray? Gasol and Kobe to Besiktas? Duncan and Ginobili to Fenerbahce?” BiE must say he loves this guy’s style…
• Washington Wizards lottery pick Jan Vesely may be back on the fence vis-à-vis a return to Partizan Belgrade or elsewhere in Europe; tweeted France-based Basket News: “Jan Vesely n’exclut pas de revenir jouer au Partizan Belgrade.”
• Basket News also reported on Joakim Noah, who may also be tired of waiting out the lockout: “Joakim Noah prendra cette semaine une décision. Sur RMC, il s’est dit tenté par l’opportunité de jouer pour le Paris Levallois.” The big-market club could really use this boost, as the 4-2 team sits in a tie for fourth on the LNB table behind Euroleague side SLUC Nancy, Eurocuppers Cholet Basket and FIBA Eurochallenge’s Gravelines Dunkerque.
Specifically, Noah was quoted in Le Parisien as stating that “I am a little disappointed because I thought the NBA season would soon begin. I will make a decision within a week, but it is sure that if I return to France, Paris would [be good for me].” (“Je suis un peu déçu, car je croyais que la saison NBA allait bientôt commencer. Je vais prendre une décision dans la semaine, mais c’est sûr que, si je reviens en France, Paris me plairait.”) And Noah reconfirms that he’ll make a decision next week in the article as well.
• Locked out San Antonio Spur/former Caja Laboral Baskonia big man Tiago Splitter is reportedly being courted by Real Madrid, Unicaja Malaga, Caja Laboral, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Emporio Armani Milano. The shakily reliable Eurobasket.com this morning reports that a deal between Splitter and Unicaja is in place.
• No word from frustrated no. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Kyrie Irving, but the former Duke University baller did weigh in on one important issue affecting players in his particular niche within the drama: “The lockout isn’t a joke but people pretend like they can just try to violate us rookies…ain’t happening.”
• Andres Nocioni has turned down a contract offer from Caja Laboral Baskonia, but Luis Scola is weighing his options. Plus, the Spanish side also hopes to bring Maciej Lampe aboard soon.
• Would you believe a comeback from 54-year-old Bernard King? “Pour remplacer Nate Carter, blessé, Châlons-Reims a signé l’ancien Havrais Bernard King en tant que pigiste medical.” BiE hasn’t found anything to back this one up, though it sounds fascinating.
• Excruciating pun of the day came from the awesome False Hoop: “#NBANuclearWinter For Deron Williams on Thanksgiving … more Turkey.”
• Igor Rakocevic of Montepaschi Siena summed up the sentiments of many over here when he tweeted, perhaps thinking of Omri Casspi’s joining Maccabi Tel Aviv, that “If now many NBA stars come to EL it is going to be strongest Euroleague ever!”
• Finally, here’s an early (and solid) prediction for the 2012 NBA champions, per tweet by IamaGM.