Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Euro Menace

A while back in a list for Epic Carnival, I wondered what the US economic picture might mean to sports, including notes that leagues in other countries were going to be able to start making competitive runs at free agents. It's already happening now in hoop, though more from currency evaluation than anything else.

Carlos Delfino is a reasonable back end of the rotation option, a point with size who can defend well enough to get minutes in Detroit a few years ago. He doesn't score well enough to be anyone's idea of a great starting option, and he's too old to have breakout potential, but he's still someone who could play 15 to 20 minutes a night for a playoff team.

He's also someone that's going to make the equivalent of nine million dollars to play basketball next year... in Russia, for Khimki BC.

Part of it is being paid in Euros. Another part is missing some taxes. And Delfino is merely the start of the trend. Juan Carlos Navarro is returning to Barcelona after a year in Memphis for similar reasons. Jorge Garbajosa won't be in the Association either, having last played for the Raptors. More guys that you haven't heard of (not that you've probably heard of Delfino, Navarro or Garbajosa) are in the wings.

Now, this really won't affect the level of play next year; these guys were replacement level players. But it doesn't take an awful lot of imagination to think about a Euro team who is really looking to make a splash upping the ante in a few years to bring an international player home. Your Nowitzkis, Gasols, Mings et al -- they'd be missed. And then, it really wouldn't be straining the imagination to see someone really go full throttle for a money-hungry American.

What better way, say, for Kobe Bryant to end his career than by going back to the Italy of his childhood, where he can be the reverse Beckham?

Update... Welcome, Deadspin Hordes. You can also add Bostjan Nachbar to the list above, who just inked a 3-year, $41 million (equivalent) deal to toil for Dynamo Moscow, rather than the Nets.

He was actually OK for them last year, with nearly 10 points a game in 22 minutes, but after the Nets dealt Richard Jefferson to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons, I guess he wasn't seeing the floor time... and he certainly wasn't seeing nearly $14 million a year. Add the boom times in Russian oil production to the Euro Menace factor, really.

And an even further Update... Josh Childress signs for monster dollars to play in Greece. Childress is a definite plus bench player as a shooting guard / small forward, with good ratio numbers and all-around performance, that has failed in previous attempts at a starter. He's the first guy to go who has been ownable in a deeper roto league.

A Stanford kid, he's also someone that probably doesn't quake with terror at the idea of living without the usual creature comforts and familiarity... and he's going to be making an absurd amount, even in NBA dollars, to be in Greece. He also has an opt-out after every year, so if he completely rules the world over there, he might be making more. Here's the final point of terror for Stern and the NBA teams: the team that he signed with has, of course, no salary cap. Fans of non-American hegemony, this is your day!


sentencesinenglish said...

I'm optimistic that if Josh Childress plays in Greece, he'll rock the Dominique-era flattop as an homage of sorts.

DMtShooter said...

I'm hoping he'll develop the Michael Ray Richardson drug habit. No one has any respect for tradition anymore, dammit.

Jared Tone said...

Haha i totally agree with the Michael Ray Richardson drug habit.
Would be a hilarious route to take.

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