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Europe Will Never Threaten the NBA

I know the word “never” sounds pretty absolute, but I’m extremely confident that the European game won’t threaten the health of the NBA. Sure Brandon Jennings electing to play pro ball in Italy instead of going to college at Arizona was a major turning point, and Josh Childress jumping to a Greek team was a momentous move, but European Leagues will never truly challenge the NBA. The major factor that’s allowed several players to make the move across the Atlantic this off-season is the devalued dollar compared to the Euro. Now what used to be a three-year $10 million offer in Europe has become a $15 million offer because of the exchange rate. Suddenly that 3:2 ratio is looking pretty darn appealing.

Thing is though, basketball has to absolutely explode in popularity to soccer-like levels in order for the salaries to ever become competitive with what the NBA can offer its top players. You think they could ever put together contract offers like what Gilbert just signed for with Washington? Think they could scrap together a max deal for 75 million euros? Sure they can steal Josh Childress in Greece for the equivalent of $20 million (and pay for his Greek taxes), but they can’t steal our top-level talent — not until basketball seriously starts booming in Europe. And heck, if a team wants a player that badly in the NBA, they’ll just ramp up their offer. Just ask the Lakers and Sasha Vujacic who agreed on a thee-year $15 million deal, quashing rumors that he might go play Euro ball. So guys might jump shit here-and-there, but fear not, even the exchange rate can’t overtake the popularity and dollars we can pay our prime talent over here.


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  • SpinMax

    If I were in their situations I’d go overseas too. You don’t have to pay taxes, you’re treated like a god,
    everyone knows who you are, etc. I think Evgeni Malkin made a mistake by not going back to Russia.
    I also think Bobby Valentine made a great decision in going to Japan and staying there.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    For some of the mid-level players who have a chance to make a lot more money, it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure a Russian team could have offered Malkin more than the Pens though because they’re paying him a good amount of $$

  • SpinMax

    The Russian team was proposing 12.5mill per year tax free.

    He resigned with pittsburgh for 5yrs 43.5mill

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_470833.html

    That was when he first came to the states. They’d pay anything to get him back over there.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    I know he signed the big extension with the Penguins this off-season, but I didn’t know they were offering him that much in Russia. I just saw some of the reports. Malkin’s agent said they never got a contract offer from a Russian team, but there was “talk” that some Russian teams would offer that much. He must really not have wanted to go back to Russia if they were offering double the amount he could get here

  • SpinMax

    Part of their offers being officially unofficial, is because of the situation and him being under contract
    with Pittsbugh still. The IIHF declared that if he went back to Russia he’d be shitlisted, not be eligible
    for olympics and so on. Here’s a couple excerpts of why Russia can afford him and the IIHF ruling:

    The Continental League, which has the financial backing of a number of Russia’s oil billionaires, is trying to stem the flow of young talent to North America, without much luck. Even Nikita Filatov, projected to be the top Russian in this year’s draft, stated unequivocally yesterday that he wanted to play in the NHL, as soon as possible because it was the best league in the world; and that the Russian league has too many weak franchises, where the crowds are small and uninspiring.

    A statement from IIHF president Rene Fasel issued Friday discounted the report, noting that, “although there will be no imminent Player Transfer Agreement between the IIHF and the NHL, all involved parties are in principal agreement to honour each other’s contracts. The NHL has informed the IIHF that this will be the policy of the league during the period without a PTA, and conversely, the IIHF has obligated its member national federations and leagues to do the same in its relations with the NHL.”

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