How The NBL Could Benefit From The NBA Lockout
With the NBA in the midst of a bitter player lockout, questions are starting to be asked as to whether the NBL could benefit from the strike and pick up some of the players who are currently unable to pay their trade in the world’s top basketball competition.
Some of the NBA’s top players have already admitted that they are looking overseas to ensure the pay cheques keep coming in during the lockout.
New Jersey Nets star Derron Williams has already signed on to play with Turkish side Benfica, while Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are apparently considering offers from other clubs in Europe and Asia.
But why not Australia? Why aren’t the Wollongong Hawks being linked with Derrick Rose? Why isn’t Tim Duncan using the NBL as a chip in the current bargaining situation?
The main reason is the NBL salary cap, which currently stands at $1 million per team per season. For that we might be able to get Blake Griffin to come down under and dunk over a push bike.
But while it is unlikely that the NBL will see the likes of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony any time soon, we could see an NBL club or two pick up a player or two from the NBA.
Not all the players in the NBA are on LeBron-like contracts, and as mid range players start to feel the pinch as the pay cheques stop coming in, there may be some US based players who view the NBL as a viable alternative.
As it currently stands, only the Melbourne Tigers have a complete roster for the upcoming 2011/12 season. They are also the only club that has filled all of the international spots on their roster.
At this stage of the pre-season, most clubs would have their roster’s fully locked in, however most clubs are leaving a couple of positions open in the hope that they may be able to secure some NBA talent.
New coach of the Townsville Crocodiles, Paul Woolpert believes the prospect of NBA players playing in Australia is closer to reality than many people realise.
“As far as I’m concerned there will be a lock out and there is a chance with the people I know and players I know in the NBA that we can get some really good players here in Townsville,” Woolpert said.
Townsville CEO Ian Smyth has confirmed that the club would make a play at Aussie Patty Mills if the lockout continued.
“We’d look for Patty Mills and there’s certainly been conversations with him,” Smyth said.
“He’s got to play somewhere. It’s coming into a year and a half out from the London Olympics, so to get the locals back playing in this country, not only benefits the NBL, but significantly the preparations of the Boomers.”
“While I hold minimal hope, it’s worthwhile getting it out there that there is a great league in this country. With the possibility of a lockout maybe it’s a place that people would consider a stint.”