The ongoing nature of the NBA lockout has caused many players to look at overseas options next season. New Jersey Nets star Deron Williams has already signed with Besiktas in Turkey, and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant flirted with Besiktas and is now talking about playing in China. There are also a number of lesser-known players that have signed deals with European teams.
Earlier last week, NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter sent a letter supporting players who chose to go overseas. However, in an interview with Harvey Araton of the New York Times, Hunter clarified that the letter wasn't encouraging players to go overseas as much as it was an acknowledgment that he can't do much to stop them from doing so.
In a telephone interview, Hunter said his recent letter to the players was designed to give permission to go, not so much encouragement, and he acknowledged the dangers of creating class union warfare.
"I don't have the answer but that's something I have to be concerned about," he said. "At the same time, I can't say to Kobe or anyone, You shouldn't go."
Certainly, class warfare is a potential effect of players going overseas. Then again, it seems like the problem is more practical than anything. European teams are mostly full, and training camps begin soon. Hunter acknowledges this too, saying he wants players to understand that going overseas is not a "magic elixir."
Either way, it seems like the NBA Players Association head isn't as gung-ho about the overseas exodus as one would think.