NBA training camps had been expected to open on October 3 with the regular season beginning in early November, but that could be in jeopardy with the sides still bickering over the salary cap structure.
With the lockout issue likely not to be resolve soon, NBA players have been mulling offers from overseas.
Kenyon Martin is the latest from a long list of players who left the league during the lockout, and is the sixth Denver Nuggets player to do so.
Before him, Ty Lawson signed in Lithuania with Zalgiris Kaunas, Timofey Mozgov signed in Russia with Khimki Moscow, Danilo Gallinari returned to Olimpia Milano, Wilson Chandler and JR Smith signed in China.
While Lawson, Mozgov and Gallinari can return if there indeed is a 2011-12 season, Martin won’t be able to leave his Chinese Basketball Association squad until the season ends in March.
Smith and Chandler have also elected to play in China, which won’t allow NBA players to opt out of their one-year contracts should the lockout end.
The San Antonio Spurs also had their fair share of players who opted to play overseas in this lockout, Chris Quinn signed in Russia with Khimki Moscow, Danny Green signed with a Slovenian team, DeJuan Blair signed with Russia’s Krasnye Krylya Samara and even Spurs’ draftee Ryan Richards have decided to join the Lugano Tigers in Switzerland next season.
Among the Spurs’ players who signed overseas, only Blair is currently under contract and he could return to San Antonio once the lockout is settled.
However, if this lockout drags on, there is a good chance that more NBA players will go abroad to play some basketball.
Tony Parker could join his team ASVEL if he wanted to, Tiago Splitter has already expressed his plans to play in Brazil and Manu Ginobili and Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant are being swayed by Virtus Bologna to play in Italy.
It’s the players’ way of saying that if the league won’t settle the lockout issue soon enough, they can always take their talents elsewhere to play the game they love and earn some money in the process.
The lockout have tarnished the reputation of the NBA, and they could only lose face if both sides continue to “not give in” and consider the interest of their hoop-loving fans.