Delonte West, Sasha Vujacic, And Andris Biedrins May Head To Europe For More Money

David Stern Better Start Worrying Immediately

7/25/08 in NBA   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect


Well, that didn't take long. Pretty much everyone wondered how long it would before other legitimate NBA players like Josh Childress decided to go abroad to Europe to rake in the cash.

And now we may even have a starter heading over there.

Yep, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West is apparently giving serious consideration about relocating to Russia to play for Dynamo Moscow, which is offering him a two-year, $10 million dollar contract. That's much better than his current one-year $2.7 million qualifying offer with the Cavs. There are teams interested in West, but he's a restricted free agent, just like Childress was before he signed with Athens Olympiakos. Obviously, Dynamo Moscow doesn't have to worry about that at all. NBA rules don't apply to them.

In addition to West, Lakers gunner Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic may also be heading to Europe as well. The Machine has said he's prepared to leave the team and accept an offer from a European team in the next few days if the Lakers don't make him an offer he deems fair - which would be in the range of $5 million per. In case you're noticing a growing trend here, The Machine is also a restricted free agent.

Lastly, the Warriors could lose one of their bright young stars as well. Andris Biedrins, literally the only guy on the Warriors who plays any defense, is apparently getting offers from Euro squads in the $10 million per year range. There's almost no way the Warriors can offer him that after having resigned Monta Ellis and brought in Corey Maggette.

Now, like Childress, none of these guys are stars. But these are all very good players. Vujacic averaged 8.8 points in 17.8 minutes this past season, shooting 45.4% from the field, including 43.7% from three-point range. Biedrins has long been considered the most prized piece of the Warriors' young nucleus aside from Monta Ellis. And West, hell, he was starting for the Cavs in the postseason. You think LeBron wants to lose a backcourt teammate and get nothing in return?

Better yet, do you think David Stern wants to see LeBron lose a teammate for nothing in return? And if you're Cleveland, you might as well just pay for LeBron's plane ticket to the Nets now.

The point is this. If David Stern thought Childress was just an anomaly, he thought wrong. Childress has literally started to open the floodgates. Pretty decent non-superstar players are starting to realize that their services are more valuable abroad than they are at home. Plus with the Euro crushing the dollar, Russia flush with oil money, and no salary caps abroad, why not go to Europe if they'll pay you double what you'd earn back in the states?

The interesting thing is that Euro teams seem to have found a weakness in the NBA's restricted free agent market and are exploiting it for all it's worth. Basically, the way the restricted free agent market works is another team can offer a restricted free agent a contract, but then the team which currently has the player's rights can match that offer and keep the player. This would seemingly create a bidding war, but that gets calmed by the fact that neither team wants to necessarily overpay the player, so generally restricted agency is a tough game to play where you have to offer just the right amount to coax a player away from a team without screwing yourself over. Whereas foreign teams, with no salary cap, don't have to worry about any of that at all.

I'm not sure changing the restricted free agent rules will even do much good. There's no other way to say this than that David Stern officially has a crisis on his hands. And in a few years time, who knows, US basketball stars may start pulling a reverse Beckham and head over to Europe for $250 million.

Considering what's going on right now, that doesn't just seem likely, it seems inevitable.
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7/25/08   |   Special_K19

The Cavs have offered West a lot more than the $2.7 million qualifying offer. I read they have an offer on the table for $28 million over 5 years, but West wants over $6 million a year.

For West, this is probably just a ploy to try to get as much from the Cavs as possible. Unlike Childress, West likes the Cavs, likes his teammates, and hasn't been lowballed or ignored by the team.

7/25/08   |   kantwistaye   |   4201 respect

Seriously, losing Vujacic would suck.  I was expecting big things out of him this year.

7/25/08   |   Jon   |   5 respect

This is just one rogue, isolated player acting alone to go to Europe.

7/25/08   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

CriticalFanatic wrote:
I'm not going to get too concerned with these guys leaving. Somehow the NBA will survive the absence of guys like Josh Childress, Sasah Vujacic and the like.

Now, if, say a Chris Bosh bolts for a team in Germany, David Stern has a problem on his hands. The guys that are leaving believe they are more valuable then they really are and thus, want an extra couple million dollars abroad.

My guess is that David Stern actually likes these moves, as it creates more excitement about the sports of basketball elsewhere and in a round about way, creates more awareness for the NBA.

The problem here is that this is a growing trend. Sure, no one will miss Childress and West (well, LeBron might), but it's only a matter of time before a Euro team has the balls to throw money at a huge name, and overpay him to such a degree that he comes over.

Look at what the MLS did. It's more than possible, and I think likely. Jason Kidd has already said he'd be interested in playing in Europe at the end of his career. Which means we're not far off from someone in their prime getting offered a ton.

I mean, think about this. Childress' money is going to be non-taxable. Can you imagine being offered $12-15 million a year non-taxable? That's better than the NBA max contract, since you're losing nothing to taxes. That's pretty damn sweet. And that'll make people stop and think.

7/25/08   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

CriticalFanatic wrote:
I'm not going to get too concerned with these guys leaving. Somehow the NBA will survive the absence of guys like Josh Childress, Sasah Vujacic and the like.

Now, if, say a Chris Bosh bolts for a team in Germany, David Stern has a problem on his hands. The guys that are leaving believe they are more valuable then they really are and thus, want an extra couple million dollars abroad.

My guess is that David Stern actually likes these moves, as it creates more excitement about the sports of basketball elsewhere and in a round about way, creates more awareness for the NBA.

NOOOO NOT THE MACHINE! 

 

Well I know there are gamblers out there who will be happy to see Sasah go.

 

 

7/25/08   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Knowing Stern he will counter  by relaxing the dress code with "Casual Fridays" for the players.

 

Well Stern wanted to make the game global now we will see what the NBA does. Look the NBA has been taken world talent for years, the time was going to come that the pendulum was going to swing back.

7/25/08   |   CriticalFanatic

I'm not going to get too concerned with these guys leaving. Somehow the NBA will survive the absence of guys like Josh Childress, Sasah Vujacic and the like.

Now, if, say a Chris Bosh bolts for a team in Germany, David Stern has a problem on his hands. The guys that are leaving believe they are more valuable then they really are and thus, want an extra couple million dollars abroad.

My guess is that David Stern actually likes these moves, as it creates more excitement about the sports of basketball elsewhere and in a round about way, creates more awareness for the NBA.