NBA superstar Ron Artest is heading to the UK for transfer talks after agreeing to play for Cheshire Jets. The LA Lakers forward – one of the best players in world basketball – has been in negotiations for weeks with directors of the Chester-based club over appearing for them during the ongoing NBA ‘lockout’.
America’s top stars are banned from playing professionally in the States while the NBA and the players’ union try to settle a pay dispute.
In a moment of opportunism earlier this month, Jets made an enquiry about luring Artest to the UK – and, incredibly, he is willing to come over and play for them.
Now the two parties have agreed to meet face-to-face to thrash out the finer details of what would surely be the biggest transfer coup in British basketball history.
Jets director Pete Hawkins said: “I spoke to Ron’s representatives on Tuesday night. We have agreed the fundamentals of the deal and Ron is coming over (to England) in a few weeks.
“What we need to do is match up our timetables because we need him here for the start of the season, but there is a bit of a clash of timetables.
“If we can sort that out then the deal will be done, but talks are ongoing so hopefully we can get everything straight-ened out in time.”
Jets were alerted to the possible availability of Artest after he made comments on the social networking website Twitter about his willingness to play in the UK.
The club’s sensational interest in the player made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic after the story was broken exclusively by The Chronicle on July 7.
Artest is now scheduled to come over to Britain to meet Jets officials in September before returning home to fulfil other commitments, which are likely to rule him out of the start of the British Basketball League campaign.
FULL STORY HERE
The NBA lockout hasn’t lasted nearly as long as the NFL lockout and already players are running for the hills or should I say overseas. Deron Williams has signed a $5 million deal with Besiktas. Williams will be playing in Turkey next season should the lockout continue. He will be joining Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia who also has an agreement with the team. There’s also Suns center Marcin Gortat who signed with Spartak Saint Petersburg in Russia. Williams isn’t the only internationally known player who has shown interest in playing overseas; Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Ron Artest and even Kobe Bryant have rumors of shopping around to overseas teams.
Williams is a big market name and was able to secure himself an opt-out clause should the NBA season resume. Other less known players such as the Raptors Sonny Weems and the Sixers Darius Songalia weren’t so lucky. Basically the NBA players are somewhat playing a game of russian roulette. Players who go overseas risk getting an injury that can diminish value as a player, or even worse a career ending injury (albeit rare). Insurance is available but is not so easily attainable and may cost a significant amount of money. No one knows when the lockout will be over, there’s a possibility the entire 2011-12 season will be lost. NBA players have a choice, either go and sign overseas contracts or wait it out. The problem with waiting it out is that there’s a certain amount of spots available for americans in overseas basketball. With big name players thrown into the mix the amount of money available will decrease as well.
A group of people that’s being overlooked are former NCAA basketball players and other street ballers who may have had the chance to play overseas but now those spots are being taken by NBA players. For those guys who couldn’t make it into the NBA, overseas basketball is their second chance to develop their skills, and get seen all while earning a living. As stated in my previous post about the layoffs, the NBA lockout is hurting a tremendous amount of people and something has to be done asap.
Posted in NBA
Tagged Bestikas, contracts, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, NBA lockout, NCAA, overseas, Ron Artest, Russia, Steve Nash, Turkey
In two days the NBA managed to layoff 114 employees but cited it wasn’t a direct result of the lockout. The league said it lost $300 million this season and hundreds of millions more in the past seasons of the CBA that expired on June 30th of this year. There’s controversy however over just how much the league is losing if any at all. Publications such as the New York Times claim the league is still profitable and the financial crisis is false. The NBA claims the expense reports used are inaccurate but they haven’t been forthcoming in handing over the “accurate” reports. In the meantime more jobs are being lost and more NBA offices are closing all over the world. I think people are beginning to see that this lockout affects more than just the players and owners.