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NBA Lockout Watch, Day 14: Billy Hunter Supports Playing Overseas
Published July 14, 2011
PLAYERS WEIGH IN: Magic C Dwight Howard told a Spanish newspaper this week that "he'll consider playing overseas if the lockout continues." Howard, while on a promotional tour in Malaga, Spain, made reference to the city's professional basketball team, saying, "It would be fun to play at Unicaja, it sure would be a great experience for me. If the break does not stop I would come to Europe to continue to improve on a great team." Howard in a Twitter post later added the chances are "pretty high” he will play overseas and he has “something up my sleeve" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/13). Heat G Dwyane Wade, who last week indicated he would consider playing abroad, said yesterday, "At the end of the day we get that itch as a basketball player where you want to play the game of basketball. So I won't rule it out, but I have no idea when I will get that itch" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/14). Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki "gave an optimistic outlook in regards to the NBA lockout." He said, "I really can't see this going on too long. I think that the game is at a great stage -- I think The Finals having been watched by so many people as it has been in a long time. I just think both sides have to come together. It's always a little give and take, not one side is going to get everything. So hopefully we're going to get by this period and both settle in and get a deal done. I just can't see us having another long lockout" (DALLASNEWS.com, 7/13).
POKING FUN AT THE SITUATION: Last night's ESPY Awards featured several members of the Mavericks taking shots at the lockout policy preventing players from having contact with team officials. Nowitzki was named Best Male Athlete of the Year, and said during his acceptance speech, "I want to also thank Mark Cuban, but since I can’t talk to him, you guys say ‘hello’ to him.” The Mavericks were later recognized as Best Team, which prompted the Mavericks owner and several players to walk onto the stage together. After Cuban took the award, he motioned for the players to come over to the microphone, saying, “Come on, come on. ... Oh yeah, I’ve got to stand over here, right?” Cuban moved a few feet away as Mavericks G Jason Kidd walked toward the microphone and said, “Well, you do have the checks, so you can pay the fines.” Cuban, Kidd and the audience laughed, and Kidd followed it by saying, “That’s just a million dollars" ("2011 ESPY Awards," ESPN, 7/13).