From the NBA to Europe ?

Could there be anything better for the NBA ?

The more NBA players in Europe the better. The movement of players is taking away the stigma and fear that younger players perceive when they are asked to play in Europe before signing an NBA contract. Knowing that they will be competing against Josh Childress, Earl Boykins, Carlos Arroyo, et al, and getting a chance to get real minutes, AND make good money is a win for everyone.

I know a lot of people think a team that loses a player could get really hurt by the move. In reality, if a team truly has a good handle on your skill level and ability to contribute to the team, they will pay to that level. If they arent sure, then the player going to Europe is a huge win. The player gets paid, but more importantly, the team gets to further evaluate the player in a high pressure situation.

High pressure ? Absolutely. When you are the highest paid American player on your team overseas, you better be a star that produces, on a team that wins. If as a player, you improve your game (and the 2 a day practices over there give you that opportunity), then you can come back to the states after a shorter season and your value will have improved. If you are a player that went over to be the star and didnt star… Well, you probably will have a long career in another country.

From the NBA team’s perspective, not only do we get additional evaluation time, but we still retain the same rights we had the day before you left, and I dont want to speak for any other team, but the hardest part of a player leaving is his going to a team you compete with and having to see him and read about it all the time. When a player defects overseas and you still hold the same rights, its not nearly that bad.

And one last question thats been getting asked a lot. What about a guy getting far more overseas than he could get paid in the NBA ? Yes, yes, yes. Nothing better than competition for the NBA.

With the exchange rate, 25mm a year paid in Euros is the equivalent of about 12mm paid in Euros just a few years ago. So NBA players look like bargains. If we lose a few players, thats not a bad thing. in fact a couple All Stars going over there is a GREAT GREAT thing.

Let me explain why. Lets say for the sake of example a couple players got 25mm, 50mm or whatever a year pay and they play on teams that just dominate. They rip apart every team they face. What happens next ? People wonder who the best teams in the world are. When that discussion becomes serious, the NBA and those winning overseas teams get paid.

European Soccer has done a phenomenal job of inventing tournaments that drive huge revenues and TV dollars. This would allow the NBA to do the same thing. Take a Christmas break, or do it in the summer , where the top 6 records in the league play the top 6 teams over there , with the revenues from the event being split primarily among the participant teams rather than equally among all NBA teams. Not only would that be a great revenue source for all the teams involved, but it would create a huge economic incentive for the other 24NBA teams and all overseas team to become top tier teams.

Then of course we could create our own World Cup type tournament every 4 years.

ALl of this could open the door to create more NBA owned competition. I’m not saying it would be easy or automatic. Quite a few parties that dont always see eye to eye would have to come to agreement, But the timing for all of that is right and its an amazing opportunity for players, leagues and teams alike.

Who would have ever thunk that the combination of Josh and the drop in the dollar could create such a wonderful opportunity.

9 thoughts on “From the NBA to Europe ?

  1. What do you think about the small player jose juan barea. Do you think that he will have a regular position? I think you better see this player play for Puerto Rico he is one of the best and i think if he do it for Puerto Rico he can\’t do it for the dallas maverick.Thanks for your attention. I apreciate your response

    Comment by ernesto roque -

  2. Dear Mr. Cuban,

    Great posting and insights. Let me add a few remarks from the perspective of an European or more precisely German Basketball fan. I am convinced that a higher number of NBA players going to Europe and probably the establishment of a new tournament would be beneficial especially for European Basketball in several aspects:

    1) It will raise the profile of Basketball which visibility is far below Soccer and Handball, Spain being the only albeit not total exception. Europeans are generally very much interested in US sports and an increased presence of well known NBA players would help to provide a broader public awareness of Basketball in Europe.

    2) One of the main shortcomings of European Basketball is the lack of stars. More NBA players could contribute to remedy this situation. That the European audience is receiptive to Basketball stars can be seen in the fact that among the more than 300 members of the German Team Dirk Nowitzki was chosen to bear the flag at the opening of the Olympic Games in Bejing.

    3) A rising public awareness of Basketball could increase the number of companies and individuals supporting this sports financially and thereby improving the conditions for players and for the development of young promising players.

    4) It will in turn, as you pointed out very clearly, help NBA players to get experience especially when confronted with high expectations due to the fact that they are the high paid star in their new team.

    Having said all this I can hardly imagine a significant number of NBA player leaving for Europe, at least in the foreseeable future. Despite the present Dollar-Euro exchange rate salaries in Europe are still below US levels and due to the lack of potent supports will remain so for some time. But it the long run things will hopefully change.

    Comment by Dr. Josef Reindl -

  3. Mark,

    As you stated, young NBA players gaining some experience in Europe is a win for everybody. I\’m sure your opinion will change, however, when big market European teams (if there is such a thing) offer Kobe Bryant and Lebron 50 Million/piece to come play in Europe. Once a big name like that goes, it will open the floodgate. I\’m sure NBA owners such as yourself will freak. You should by a European team and get in the game early. You should also check out this…

    Comment by Ryan Mettee -

  4. I like the idea of a Christmas tournament. It is great to see Kobe and Lebron go at on Christmas day; but lets be serious, that is only 1 game out of 82 and it is pretty much meaningless. I would like to see the best of Europe play against the best from the NBA. If the best from Europe played a mediocre NBA team, the Euros would win. But the best against the best with international rules would make real basketball come out and would help the world of basketball on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Comment by Joe Gakenheimer -

  5. Someone brought up the World Baseball Classic. Baseball has a great opportunity to expand due to the fact that baseball is already a huge sport in so many countries. While the WBC is great, what would be even better is if individual teams from different leagues competed against each other, similar to the UEFA Champions League. That way we the fans have a better opportunity to learn about other teams and other leagues, instead of only knowing the national team for a once every few years event. And while owners don\’t want their players to play for the national team for injury concerns, having individual teams compete in a tournament will further the name and prestige of the team, meaning owners won\’t have a problem with it.

    You brought up a comparison to European soccer. It would be a dream scenario for basketball to globalize like Soccer has in Europe. There is so much basketball talent in America, our youth programs are far ahead of any other country. Sending the same type of players that you target with UFL abroad will increase their level of competition, and help to make it mainstream. Once those leagues are strengthened then we can talk about world cups and championships. But always keep in mind the difference between the individual teams competing and national teams competing. Its completely different.

    In addition, I believe other countries need to adopt NBA rules. FIBA rules make for finesse basketball, the wider paint, the shorter 3 point line, smaller foul limit. All these rules discourage power basketball played in the paint. This is why foreign basketball gets a reputation of being soft. With NBA rules, they\’ll play like the NBA, which is the best and most exciting brand of basketball. I think that\’s the best thing other countries can do to improve their leagues, better than importing American players.

    Comment by MaddenDude -

  6. That Iranian center is now available. Go get \’em!

    Comment by Drew -

  7. Good Call Mark, The NHL is going through a similar situation and I say let em.. It\’s already giving some young guys who were drafted in the NHL but didn\’t make it right away a shot to get back in the game. Both the Penguins and the Leafs signed guys who came from overseas.

    Comment by Children Surgery -

  8. Dear Mr. Cuban,

    As an European basketball fan I am also surprised for all these mid-level NBA players coming to Europe this season, but not so much surprised as the american public is.
    Actually this is just a new level of bargaining in the \”market-type\” situation between the us and Europe. Since the 1980\’s loads of American pro players have been coming to play to Europe. Once it was just people too old to play in the NBA, then also immature players who had to grow up a bit after college. Finally also people who could only get minimum wages and no playing time in the NBA chose to cross the pond.
    This summer, due to the currency exchange rate and to some russian/greek magnates we\’re seeing good NBA players coming to Europe. It was only a matter of time and money. Here we saw everything quite clearly happening year after year. It is a novelty for people who ignore the European scene only.
    An example? This year high-school sensation Brandon Jennings is coming to play here in Rome (Italy) instead of going to Arizona in the NCAA; big media exposure both there and here, lots of talking. The kid is quite smart (he really is) but he thought he would be by far the most talented player ever to wear our jersey (Virtus Roma)…wrong. Someone explained him we have seen Larry Wright, George Gervin, Mike Bantom, Michael Cooper, Danny Ferry, Brian Shaw, Dino Radja and Dejan Bodiroga.
    He didn\’t know most of the names…unfortunately 🙂

    Comment by Luigi Manco -

  9. The NBA is enough for americans but the world expects more than the nba,the nba has a lot of work to do to make this a world game,the nba has a very important role or should i say A RESPONSIBILITY in in promoting this game,this game that should be seen in an NBA style of play not a fiba style of play.I think the results that will come will be benificial for everyone who loves this game. Sir[Mr. Cuban] i have an invention , a motion offense that is the only one in the worl right now.It can be executed in transition and in the half court set. It can also be incorporated in any system of offense. I am selling it for 14 million dollars.If you are interested please send me an email at

    Comment by Christensen Servas -

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