Toronto Raptors wing player, Sonny Weems, has become the first NBA player to decide to play basketball overseas during the NBA Lockout. The Raptors offered Weems a qualifying offer but he has decided to play in Europe instead. Weems is in the process of signing a one-year contract and will remain in Europe for the 2011-12, although he has not yet confirmed as to which team he will be playing for.
Could this be a possible trend for NBA players during the looming lockout? Only time will tell. But according to a tweet from Jonathan Givony at Draft Express, agents assured the NBA players association that if the NBA season does not start on time, they could receive clearance through FIBA to allow players to play overseas.
Dirk Nowitzki has already voiced his desires to lead a German team to the 2012 Olympics.
While, Rudy Fernandez, who was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Dallas Mavericks on draft night, has been offered a six-year contract from Real Madrid worth about $4.35 million per year.
And Kobe Bryant reportedly in talks with other NBA players about possibly taking their talents to China. (See story here.)
With the threat of a prolonged NBA lockout that could delay the start of the 2011-12 season and Weems taking a leap of faith as the first player to sign overseas, it will be interesting to see what other offers and player’s decisions will surface as the lockout continues.