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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stevc Dilbeck writes in the L.A. Daily News that Kobe Bryant may decide to leave the NBA and sign with a European club. Our good friend Sonny Vaccaro agrees this is a distinct possibility. Sonny said on a local LA sports talk radio show: "I think there is a great possibility, if for no other reason than he will make his value worth much more than anyone can imagine. For the first time, they'll actually be in competition.” Sonny added that money might not be the problem most Americans might think it is, adding, “Some of the owners in Europe have more money than the majority of owners in the NBA. It's a small number, but it's a fact. They're billionaires. The trouble with America is we think they're penny-ante. They're not. These individuals are very wealthy. They can do this."

If Kobe does decide to make the move across two ponds, it will shake the NBA to its foundation. What’s more, it will surely be the death knell to the one and done rule which forces capable and ready 18 year olds from signing with a professional club until they serve one year down on the NCAA farm.

The current NBA eligibility rules seem to discriminate against ready and able American players. If a European high schooler, or the equivalent, signs with a professional club on the continent, he then becomes eligible for the NBA draft. On the other hand, an American who leaves high school and plays professionally in Europe for a year still is not eligible for the NBA until he turns 19. The NBA offers no reason for the distinction, but I suspect it is to encourage the signing of European players so as to make the league more attractive to the global market.

If the flow of star players starts to go the other way across the Atlantic, however, the NBA may have to rethink the plan to keep the future Kobes and Lebrons from deferring their dreams for a year just to satisfy the moguls over at the NCAA.


As much as we say that it would be a great success and marketing move to play in Europe. I think there are two glaring questions. 1. What owner can sustain a long term contract worth approx. 50 million a year that I believe will be neededt o entice a player, not just a one year deal. 2. When we say Europe do we assume that we are talking about the whole Europe. Most of these leagues are small in individual countries, not grand leagues throughout Europe. Only the Euro league championships which is about 10-15 games a year spans throughout Europe. I dont believe having one player in one of these segmented leagues will not do as much profit as playing in the U.S would. I believe that this applies to marketing as well because in one of these small countries you are not getting the full reach of all of Europe as some would think.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 9/21/2008 1:01 PM  

The other important development, not to be underestimated, is the decision by Brandon Jennings to play in Rome rather than the NCAA.

Blogger Alan Milstein -- 9/21/2008 2:26 PM  


There are a few very deep pocketed owners in the Euroleague.

CSKA Moscow — a team that has already contacted James — is owned by Mikhail Prokhorov. Prokhorov is the 24th wealthiest man in the world. He’s worth 19.5 billion dollars.

Prokhorov doesn’t have to worry about the restrictions of a salary cap or luxury tax. He can do whatever he wants. If he wants to sign Kobe Bryant or LeBron James to a two-year $100 million contract, he can do it. And let’s be honest, it’s not going to effect his bottom line very much.

Anonymous brandon hoffman -- 9/21/2008 10:58 PM  

Do you think it is possible for these NBA players, such as Kobe Bryant or Lebron James, to get the best of both worlds. I understand that the Euroleague schedule currently overlaps, but if they were to reschedule their league to the NBA pre-season, what would stop them from signing in both Europe and the NBA, provided they have a clause in their contracts that allows for such? James, in a December 2007 article in Fortune magazine, stated that he wanted to be the first billionaire athlete. What is keeping David Stern from creating NBA-Europe and NBA-China, leagues that don't conflict with the NBA schedule? He could schedule 10-20 games for each league with a shortened playoffs. Europeans owners can sign NBA players for their teams... if they want to sign Kobe Bryant and Lebron James on the same team for $40-50 million each, it's all for the better for the NBA and for the players. Lebron James signed a Nike deal for $90 million over 7 years for being a major name in America. If his exposure in the rest of the world is just as great, what is to stop him from commanding $20-30 million a year from Nike? And any positive PR for the players is good PR for Stern's league. These players, if they are serious about the game, are already going to be putting themselves through intense workouts and playing in pickup games... why not get paid millions to do it? It's a win-win situation. Stern, I hope you're a subscriber to this blog. Act now!

Blogger Mitchell J. Kim -- 9/22/2008 12:33 AM  

Discrimination with European players? I think they can´t apply for the Draft until they are 19 too. It's something that has been said quite often talking about Ricky Rubio's (17 y-o Spanish PG)

# Anonymous: Euroleague Basketball Championship is 25 games. you take Spanish League (ACB), it´s 34 games RS, + around 10 in playoffs + 3 Cup Games... it makes almost a NBA Season.

Anonymous Maku -- 9/22/2008 1:12 AM  

Ridiculous. The NBA is the premier league for competition and the NBA Finals is still the crowning achievement for any player growing up.

If Kobe, Lebron, et al. decide to leave the US for Europe basketball, they will prove the entire country right for thinking that it is ALL about the money for these guys. Forget NBA Championships and the team concept, it's all about ME and how much money I can get, instead of playing for something greater than themselves.

They did it for the US Basketball team this summer in Beijing, so that leaves me to believe that they'd stay in the US. Call me crazy, but that's my 2 cents.

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 9/22/2008 3:16 PM  

I do not believe Kobe, or any other NBA player will take off to Europe. The reason, there are no guaranttee contracts over there. This has ruined the NBA, and why players will not leave America.

Anonymous Christian Debt Settlement -- 9/23/2008 5:56 PM  

Every game has some rules and no any one broke them. If any one wants to leave his team and join and other then it’s not good. He would got the permission from the sports court.

Sam Martian

Online Marketing Solution

Blogger Sam -- 9/24/2008 3:53 AM  

I read an article that suggests fewer players are going to Europe than feared. Not sure why though.

Anonymous arizona auto insurance -- 1/11/2009 12:06 AM  

I think that trend might ebb and flow. It depends on the qualify of college players coming out at any given year. Sometimes an older player or fringe player may have to leave to continue playing.

Anonymous arizona homeowner insurance -- 1/11/2009 12:07 AM  

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