New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams has a deal to play basketball in Turkey if the NBA lockout continues. The most optimistic of NBA insiders predict the lockout will last at least until January if not the entire season. Deron Williams will have plenty of time to get acquainted with Istanbul. Is this a good decision?
Yes and no. From the standpoint of keeping the rust off your game it's a great idea. Why not keep your game sharp against formidable competition and get paid to do it. There are presently no other options that will pay him $5,000,000 to play the game he loves. He might even learn a thing or two that will make him a better point guard once the NBA resumes play.
From the standpoint of risk to reward his decision makes no sense whatsoever. Deron Williams is about to be one of the top free agents in 2012 and is looking to sign a lucrative long term contract. In addition, he already has guaranteed money on the table with the New Jersey Nets once the the lockout issue is resolved. If he tears an ACL or ruptures his Achilles tendon playing in some random world league he could cost himself hundreds of millions of dollars. I don't think the insurance policy he takes out will cover that.
Most players go overseas because they're past their and can't play anymore (Dominique Wilkens, Allen Iverson, Bob McAdoo) or they couldn't make it in the NBA to begin with. A player going overseas in their prime is unprecedented. The NBA has never had to worry about its best players venturing off to other leagues. Now that Deron Williams has started a new trend maybe other players will follow suit. I doubt the NBA wants to deal with that headache and the legal ramifications that come with it. The solution is simple, sign a new collective bargaining agreement to prevent this from happening. If only it were that easy.