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FIBA will clear NBA players to play
Geneva-–Basketball’s governing body said Friday it will clear NBA players under contract to play in its leagues during the lockout, as long as they return once it’s over.
In a ruling that paves the way for players to earn a paycheck, FIBA agreed with NBA and players’ association officials that players are free to sign anywhere but do so at their own risk of injury.
”As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labor dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled,” secretary general Patrick Baumann said in a statement.
”In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account.”
Playing overseas has emerged as an option for NBA players during a work stoppage that threatens to last months and could even wipe out the entire season. Nets All-Star Deron Williams has a deal with Turkish club Besiktas – which is also courting Kobe Bryant – and most top players said they would consider playing.
Union executive director Billy Hunter has endorsed the idea, with players believing it will pressure owners at the bargaining table if they see their players have options elsewhere.
If a player under NBA contract agrees to a deal in a FIBA-affiliated league, he first must be cleared to go by the NBA. The league will allow partial clearance, meaning it must be guaranteed the player returns to his NBA team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. FIBA will then give its approval once the player has signed a declaration stating he will do so.
There is still plenty of doubt that top players will head to Europe or Asia. All-Star caliber ones may not find enough money to make it worthwhile, and numerous players who have signed overseas have stories of missed or late payments from their teams there. Also, their NBA teams could void their contracts if they are significantly injured playing in another league.