The gut reaction I've seen to the news that Deron Williams is heading off to Turkey is that the players gain some leverage by finding European jobs. Not so fast.
Deron's going to make 200k a month for his trouble. Whether this has been adjusted for taxes and takes into account all the perks that are standard with European contracts but not US ones I don't know. However, even if you assume the real value is double that, he's making just there million a year.
If all the perks are factored in it's closer to 1.5 million a year. Sure, he'd make more if he was willing to accept a contract without an out if the NBA lockout ends, but it shows that quite simply the players aren't going to get a better deal anywhere else.
I've gone to great lengths to point out that the owners aren't necessarily being reasonable in how much they want to shift the current agreement. They're asking price is high enough that they won't get it without losing a season. We can only hope they bend if we want to watch the NBA this year.
However, Deron Williams move to Europe shows exactly why the owners will eventually win. In the long run, even if they get all the cuts they ask for, they'll still be paying the players far more than they can make doing anything else. The only recourse the players would really have outside of that is to attempt to start up their own league.
The only real recourse the players have is decertification, but with the NFL ruling on decertification not looking so hot for the players, there's no guarantee it would work.
If decertification did rule the draft and salary cap illegal, then the NBA would be forced to come back to the negotiating table though, as the NBA without those things would quickly become the worst of all major sports leagues. Only LA and NY would ever compete in a new setting with unlimited spending, no draft, and no cap.
However, even if the players can play this card, the legal battle could rage long enough to lose a season as well. Either way, we're left hoping that the sides can come together in September. It's likely that there won't be any serious talks until that point.
No one wants to get serious until real money is being lost. Real money won't be lost until games are canceled, and that discussion won't happen until September.