Looks like Kobe Bryant has started the domino effect of players heading overseas, dreading a long NBA lockout. Bryant's reps and Italian club Virtus Bologna are working intensely to sign the Lakers superstar guard to a 10-game contract worth more than $3 million after scheduling problems hampered a quick deal.
New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams had already signed with Turkey before Bryant even considered going to Italy. But now that Bryant is on the verge of playing overseas, some notable players have inked deals or seem to be close.
Tony Parker said Wednesday he will play with French ball club ASVEL, based in Villeurbanne, near Lyon in southeast France, during the NBA lockout. The three-time all-star will make a mere $1,995 per month as opposed to his $13 million guaranteed next season from the San Antonio Spurs.
I'll be playing nearly for free, said Parker. If I play the entire season, we'll go for the title.
He expects to play his first game Oct. 14 against Paris.
Two superstar big men, brothers Pau and Marc Gasol, who play for the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies respectively, seem to be close to playing with Spanish team FC Barcelona. The team has given them permission to practice with them. The good part is the Gasols have the choice to leave once the NBA lockout ends. However, seeing as how the preseason has been cancelled and the regular season is in jeopardy, the two might be tempted to stay.
Just as Pau Gasol is a Spanish basketball star, Andrei Kirlilenko is a star in Russia. The former Utah Jazz forward signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow that gives him an option to return to the NBA if the lockout ends. AK-47, who played for CSKA Moscow until joining the Jazz in 2001, said he would donate any money he earns in Russia to his charitable foundation, Kirilenko's Kids.
Other superstars who are considering going abroad are Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.