New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, one of the brightest stars in the NBA, signed a contract to play for the Turkish professional basketball team Besiktas. The season for European basketball begins Sept. 27.
NBA commissioner David Stern does not oppose locked-out players signing contracts and playing for European teams, but if a player is hurt while playing overseas, his lucrative NBA contract would likely be voided.
As far as the NBA is concerned, player contracts are suspended while the NBA lockout, which began last week, is in effect. Under the terms with Besiktas, Williams would be allowed to break his contract and return to the Nets if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached and the NBA lockout ends.
Besiktas previously signed Allen Iverson for a stint with the team. A spokesperson for Besitkas said the team wasn't done recruiting locked out NBA players, and they hoped to secure a contract with Kobe Bryant.
The poor economy in Europe makes lucrative roster spots in their league somewhat rare--Williams nailed down one of the first spots among very few.
Williams averaged 20.1 points per game and 10.3 assists per game last season.