A memo sent out to player agents from the NBAPA encouraged players to play abroad and earn enough money in order to help break the owners as part of the lockout.
The Chicago Tribune has the story here.
"This lockout is intended to economically pressure our players to agree to an unfavorable collective bargaining agreement," Hunter wrote. "It is important for the owners to understand that there may be significant consequences to their decision to put their own players in these difficult economic circumstances.
"If the owners will not give our players a forum in which to play basketball here in the United States, they risk losing the greatest players in the world to the international basketball federations that are more than willing to employ them."
"We do not believe that FIBA or the NBA will stand in the way of any players pursuing international opportunities, whether you are under contract or a free agent," Hunter wrote in the memo, which also was sent to agents. "You and your agent should secure appropriate protection to guard against any injury or unforeseen circumstances."
Well, no duh. The lockout is intended to put economic pressure on the players? Of course.
What's interesting is that ultimately, playing overseas should force the players to see how good they have it in the NBA. Deron Williams was looking to get 1.5 million a year playing overseas. Maybe if he fully committed without an NBA out, he could get 4 million a year.
Even if the NBA rolls back salaries considerably, they'll still be, by far, the best game in town.
The elite players are going to lose 10-15 million a year playing overseas. The middle class will go from 5-8 million down to 3-400k. The lower class might be without jobs all together.
The thing is, there are a very limited number of jobs in Europe to support an influx of NBA players. FIBA teams can't take the chance on players as major pieces of their team when they can leave for the NBA in the midst of the season.
Even if they did take such risks, the rules of many international leagues place limitations on how many players can play without a foreign passport which most NBA players will not have.
All in all, the players should seek out whatever avenues they can to make money while the NBA locks them out, but the more they search, the more it should become obvious that the NBA is the best game in town. They may hate the rollbacks, but ultimately, if the league cut it's salary structure in half, the NBA is still the best game in town.
Ultimately, this isn't the case of the NFL where there's so much money to go around that both sides are taking equivalent risks by missing a season. This is a case where the NBA needs considerable money rolled back. Not nearly as much as they're asking, but more than the players have been willing to give so far.
I'm mad at the owners for taking such a hardline stance that the players will miss a season rather than accept the cuts, but ultimately, the players will bend first. The owners are in better financial position to withstand a lost season or even two lost seasons. Players who have limited time and earning potential will break likely break first if either side forces the other to break.
Our best hope is that the players/owners agree on a lower percentage of BRI for the players (say a 50/50 split) and then keep a rule structure similar in place to today. That's enough that the owners should be able to return to profitability, the players will have to swallow significant cuts, but the players middle class won't get destroyed like it would with the removal of the MLE.
Will either side agree? As I've said before, serious talks won't likely take place until September.