What do Josh Childress, Dee Brown, Earl Boykins and Boston Nachbar have in common?Apart from being role players in the NBA, they now share the distinction of having been the part of recent trend of NBA players migrating to Europe for bigger contracts.
The latest wave of offers threatens to shake the face of the NBA. The Greek suited Olympiacos- has reportedly stated that they are prepared to pay Kobe Bryant around 80 million for three years, perks included. It doesn' t take a beautiful mind to realize that paying that sum of dollars to any player at any time to play basketball for three years is just downright despicable.
Maybe this trend is what the NBA and David Stern should get used dealing with. Make no mistake, it's the NBA stars that Europe is after. Add LeBron James to that European wish list with his contract expiring in 2010; and we just might be looking at an international bidding war.
I think in the next few years we are going to be seeing more and more role players and even broderline stars heading overseas for big money. The NBA is slowly losing it's grasp on a game that has gone completely global. Basketball could very easily become like soccer, where you have several different leagues with the best players in the world spread out evenly.
It's a scary thought for those of us who love the NBA and its rich history.
David Stern is going to have to expand the league into major parts of Europe to be able to keep the NBA as the premier league. Cities like London, Rome and Paris are likely venues but after that it's anyone's guess and it could get a little dicey. The last thing you want is D-Wade waking up in Prague missing a kidney.
The salary cap is also a big issue. NBA teams simply can't compete with the outlandish offers being made by these European suitors. Throw in the struggling U.S economy and things get even more complicated. Higher salaries mean higher ticket prices, which means everything skyrockets while the American economy plummets.
Let's hope D- Stern has a plan, because the NBA is going to continue to lose players to the competitive european market and who can blame them, they have mouths to feed too. But without Kobe and LeBron in the NBA, there is no NBA.
Or am I wrong? Should I be happy that the sport is doing so well? Shouldn't basketball fans be glad that basketball has truly gone global? Or was it never about the sport... Is basketball to North Americans like a favorite tv show that we stop watching as soon as they kill off our favorite characters?
I can't call it. But I know I won't watch a game if Kobe suits up for the Olympiacos and I'll hate him for doing it.
What kind of guy would leave his team for 80 millions dollars and an European villa...