It seems to me that Europe is trying to make their brand of basketball more popular by shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for disgruntled NBA free agents that can't get that kind of money out of their respective teams. For example, former rookie prospect and solid Small Forward for the Atlanta Hawks, Josh Childress, became a restricted free agent this offseason. It was reported of him working out for many NBA teams(most of which I would say desperately need him), but not teams, not even his current team, offered him a contract. Well, the NBA snoozed, and eventually lost when the Greek Olympiacos offered him a 3 year $30 million deal to play with them overseas and he accepted. A list of other NBA players who were lured overseas this offseason after being unsatisfied with offers(or lack there of) from NBA teams: Earl Boykins(who is now Italy's highest paid player but wouldn't even have cracked the top 20 over here), Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Delfino, Bostjan Nachbar, and Primo Brezec. Yes, a few of those players came from overseas at some point in their college/NBA career, but does all of these players jumping ship and going back to Europe mean the NBA is losing it's international appeal? And is this good for the sport of basketball? or bad? Lebron James becomes a restricted free agent in 2010. European teams are already salivating over him, as well as other NBA teams. James has been quoted saying he would consider a deal with a European team if he was offered a $50 million a year contract. That's a lot of fucking money and way more than he is making on his NBA contract alone. With all of his endorsement deals, I'm sure he is making close to that amount or more. I can't decide whether or not he threw out that outrageous figure to make it impossible for a European team(even though they have the money) to want to sign him for that much, or if he was serious and he thinks that is a way to better reach his goal that he stated at the beginning of his career to become the richest man in the world.
To have the world's current leading basketball icon leave the States to play overseas, bad for the NBA, but would that be good for the sport of basketball? Would it make it more popular with other countries having a superstar like him on a European team? Although it would upset me to see NBA stars go overseas and make the NBA boring, I think it would be good for basketball worldwide. I also wouldn't mind it if they played international games on American T.V. other times besides the Olympics only. What do you think?