Saturday , Aug , 20 , 2011 Paul Eide

Hired Guns: NBA Players Playing Elsewhere

With the flurry of activity regarding player movement to other countries, it got to the point where I just couldn’t keep up with who was going where. I mean sure, other than Deron Williams there haven’t been a lot of “names” how have followed suit, yet. But because I love the NBA, I still want to know what the heck is going on. So, below is the full list of players who have confirmed they will be playing elsewhere until the lockout is resolved.

It’s an interesting mix of NBA players who have confirmed they will be playing professionally in other countries for the foreseeable future. Since Williams’ announcement, a total of 30 players have committed to playing basketball outside of the NBA next season, or roughly 14% of all players in the league.

Outside of Williams, the biggest name players confirmed leaving the NBA are Leandro Barbosa (Brazil), Ty Lawson (Lithuania), Jordan Farmar (Israel), Sasha Vujacic (Turkey) and Nenad Krstic (Russia).

Here is the full list and their destination:

  • Jeff Adrien- Italy
  • David Anderson- Italy
  • Hilton Armstrong- France
  • Keith Benson- Italy
  • Nicolas Batum- France
  • Trevor Booker- Israel
  • Earl Clark- China
  • Jon Diebler- Greece
  • Danny Green- Slovenia
  • Justin Harper- France
  • Pooh Jeter- Spain
  • Trey Johnson- Italy
  • Acie Law- Serbia
  • Jon Leuer- Germany
  • E’Twaun Moore- Italy
  • Timofey Mozgov- Russia
  • Chris Quinn- Russia
  • Magnum Rolle- South Korea
  • Mustafa Shakur- France
  • Darius Songaila- Turkey
  • DaJuan Summers- Italy
  • Garrett Temple- Italy
  • Von Wafer- Italy
  • Sonny Weems- Lithuania
  • Sean Williams- Israel

While the majority of players will no doubt elicit a “ho-hum” type response from most fans, the undercurrent of player movement is significant. So while it may be fringe players and essentially bench players moving on at first, if half the NBA’s players end up playing in other leagues and the lockout continues to draw on, then bigger names will follow.

The key to top level talent leaving the NBA for a foreign market is the ability to opt out of a contract if the NBA were to solve its issues. While most other professional leagues around the globe have treated the player/NBA situation like open season at a buffet, at least one league is being a little more deliberate. The Chinese Basketball Association has banned NBA players with live NBA contracts from joining the league. Plus, if an NBA free agent does sign, they have to honor the contract for the entire season and would not be released from the contract should the NBA resolve its labor dispute.

The list of players that have at least been approached by other professional basketball leagues is another piece that makes this an interesting story to watch. Sure we’ve all heard about Kobe and Melo, but several other “name” stars remain a possibility to play elsewhere. Most notably is Ron Artest playing in England, JJ Barea possibly ending up in Spain, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng also are entertaining offers.

At the end of the day, these guys are basketball players who play the game for money. As the lockout draws on, expect more and more players to get work elsewhere.