Well, I've been paying attention to the exodus of NBA players to Europe, but nothing short of the Childress move and Brandon Jennings shunning college has really raised my eyebrows. A bunch of mid-level guys who are either past their prime or guys who wouldn't really get a chance to see much time on an NBA court, taking the money grab to re-establish their careers in Europe.
But now it's hit the Mavericks. 2008 Draft pick, Shan Foster, has decided to go and play in Europe and will not be on the Mavericks roster this season.
Couple that with the fact that both LeBron and Kobe have said that for the right price, $50 million, they'll go to Europe. Here's the deal: that is very possible.
The maximum contract, I believe, an NBA player can be offered state side is $20 million a year. Before taxes. There's no such capping in the European leagues.
The Euro...The world's highest single population of millionaires? Moscow because of oil. Athens because of shipping. These magnates can offer LeBron a tax-free $50 million a year. Why? Not being American citizens, they can say that they'll pick up the taxes, so the $50 million is an after tax number. All together, the contract would be something like $70 million a year, which is maybe 40 Million Euro. (I can't guarantee that.)
The Player...Really, are you going to tell me that if someone said that you had a chance to pocket $100 million after taxes to go overseas for 2 years and play basketball, you're going to say no? Couple that with the chance to globalize your brand (if you're LeBron or Kobe) or to have a fully dedicated fan base (Melo) and why not jump at the chance?
The NBA...Stern's got a problem and it's of his own creation. David Stern has pushed for the globalization of basketball forever. It's right up there with the WNBA as pet projects. Now this one has come back to bite him in the ass. What's he going to do when the NBA becomes what the college game has become, irrelevant, because all the best players are going elsewhere for money? Are we going to see an NBA European divison?
Keep an eye on things because the global market complicated an already crazy problem.