NBA Round-Up: Gilbert Arenas Planks While Kobe, Carmelo And Amar’e Pack?

Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas Tweets a lot, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, and his 140-character thoughts usually fall somewhere between “LOL wut a jackazz” and “OK I’ll admit that’s pretty funny”. But on a few isolated occasions, when he’s not calling Orlando a state or planking in random places, he has been known to make a pretty good point, and two of his Tweets caught my attention yesterday.

rumor is DWill has a contract to play overseas if the lockout continues pass oct 1st…he aint the only one u know ya boy Agent has one also
all this overseas talk..and when we had to play preseason games over there everybody started complaining about the flts and food

By “flts” he means flights, I assume, and he makes an excellent point about the mindset of professional athletes. I knew some guys who played college basketball and after they graduated they went to play in Japan, Ireland, Turkey and Greece. A few of them did it for the experience, but mostly they all did it for the money, because these teams were offering as much as low 6 figures (considering conversion rates and living expense) to 22-year old guys who had no chance at making the NBA.
That’s important to keep in mind, because with the exception of Rudy Fernandez’s record offer from Real Madrid – which is more about bringing a star home and less about pillaging the NBA – the offers aren’t going to be as considerable as some players might think. That’s why this supposed mass exodus of angry and vengeful players isn’t going to be as large as some pundits expect, because it comes down to the difference between a comfort zone and culture shock. Basically, these players can make all the threats they want but after a few weeks they’d be Tweeting xenophobic rants that would haunt an Arizona legislator’s dreams.
After the jump, you can check out the latest in NBA-players-heading-overseas developments, as well as Arenas’ latest planking escapades.

Reports are varying, but it is believed that if the NBA Lockout is not resolved by October, when the 2011-12 season is scheduled to begin, New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams will play for the team Besiktas in Turkey. The team’s coach, Ergin Ataman (like Phil Jackson but with more gold chains, I imagine), told his local news that a deal with Williams was close, but he later told the New York Times that the deal was done. The latter appears to be correct, according to Slam Online, which reported that Williams’ contract (worth as much as $5 million for the season) will be paid by a “special sponsor”, due to concerns that Besiktas has had some problems paying players in the past.
That’s a notable concern, too, because Williams’ agreement to play seems to be a springboard for Besiktas’ additional NBA ambitions. The team is also trying to sign Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, although ownership admits that money would be limited and he would have to play for more for the love of the game than for the appreciation of a giant paycheck. Good luck with that, Turkey.
While Williams and Bryant tease the Turks, other stars like New York Knicks teammates Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are most likely going to ride this storm out at home. There was a brief assumption (Read: Media boredom) that Amar’e Stoudemire might take his talents and incredibly ironic star of David tattoo to play in Israel, but his agent shot that down.

“I don’t think anyone is thinking about playing overseas at this point — certainly not Amar’e,” he said.
Playing in Israel would be a natural for Stoudemire, who has said he has Jewish roots, owns a Star of David tattoo, is kosher and visited The Holy Land last summer.
But Stoudemire has too many insurance and injury issues to think about. (Via NY Post)

He also probably understands that playing in Israel is a little bit different than hosting a hoops clinic for Manhattan Hebrew schools. As for Anthony, I assume his options are limited to playing in cities like London or Paris, what with the travel embargo that his wife placed on his testicles earlier this year.
Additionally, former Knick and current Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (he’s Italian) isn’t sure if he’s going to play in Europe and Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko (he’s Swedish), who is a restricted free agent and looking at a NBA contract of about $3 to $4 million a year, doesn’t want to play in Europe either. That’s two Europeans saying no to the possibility. I’m not saying that’s an indicator, I just think it’s interesting.
Don’t worry about the players who can’t take the adventure of European luxury, though. If Europe or Asia is too far for them, they can always take a hike across the northern border and play for the National Basketball League of Canada.

“What a great opportunity for NBA players,” Levingston said in a media release. “NBL Canada can provide them with highly competitive play in professional arenas with great fan bases, while still being relatively close to home.” (Via CBC)

Read that twice, players. That’s “highly competitive PLAY” not PAY. There’s no mention of how much they could earn, just that players could keep their skills sharp by playing in the NBL. Levingston, who owns a team in the NBL which must make David Stern so jealous, also politely added that there are currently 2 of the league’s 7 coaches with NBA experience. Former Denver Nuggets coach Mike Evans is coaching the Halifax Rainmen while former San Antonio Spurs player Jaren Jackson is coaching Saint John Mill Rats. Hopefully, nobody will be intimidated by that kind of star power.
– Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka will return to play in Spain, where he played for two years prior to the NBA, as long as there are no complications with a new CBA. I assume the only complication would be there actually being one.
– NBA Championship ring owner Adam Morrison played for… *Googles, checks Wikipedia, cries* nobody last year, but is using this lockout as a reason to work out and make a comeback in Europe. Since he’s still an excellent shooter but plays very poor defense, not to mention has terrible facial hair, it is believed that he could be a perfect fit in Europe. Or with the Orlando Magic.
– Like I mentioned earlier, a bunch of undrafted free agents are going to head to Europe, and chances are they won’t complain about the food, flights or paychecks at all.
And all the while, Gilbert Arenas planked.

Vowing to make Disney World jealous, this is the collection of fireworks that Arenas bought for neighborhood kids for his personal 4th of July celebration. Granted, that neighborhood is Windermere, but it’s the the thought that counts. Damn it all, if this guy isn’t starting to grow on me.