According to media reports out of Turkey, Nets’ point guard Deron Williams is headed to Turkey to play for Allen Iverson’s old team in 2011-2012 while the NBA is locked out. The Turkish media reports Williams will have an opt-out clause in the event that the lockout abruptly ends. Williams’ agent hasn’t confirmed anything. Yet.
There had been chatter in NBA circles about some players going overseas to play this winter, but most of the talk centered around NBA reserves (who could use the money). This is the first time we’re hearing about a legitimate star – Williams is probably one of the 15 best players in the NBA – making the leap.
I’m puzzled why Williams would do it. He’s got one more year with the Nets and can then either sign a long-term deal (likely to happen if they’re able to add a stud like Dwight Howard), or opt-out and play in any city that will have him (read: 80% of the league, with the Lakers, Rockets, and Mavericks just a few of the potential landing spots). Williams just turned 27 and has battled a pesky wrist injury on-and-off for the last three years. Is playing in Turkey for a few months worth the injury risk? What if Williams re-injures the wrist and needs surgery, and then the NBA lockout ends and the NBA has a 50-game season?
Then again, there’s always this: Maybe a guy who has made an estimated $43 million in the NBA over the last six years (not counting any marketing deals), needs the money.