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Volume 24 No. 160
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NBA Lockout Watch, Day 19: NBPA Planning Series Of Player Sessions

The NBPA is "planning a series of player sessions in as many as six cities over 'the next month or so' as a way to help with their planning during the lockout and update players on the state of negotiations with the NBA," according to sources cited by Sam Amick of Unless things "unexpectedly change, there won't be much to report" on the labor negotiations at the sessions. While mid-level staffers from both sides met Friday to "finalize the numbers related to basketball-related income for the 2010-11 season, but no negotiating sessions involving" NBA Commissioner David Stern or NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter have been scheduled. Sources said that the BRI numbers "were not finalized Friday and more similar sessions are forthcoming to that end, but the union is focused on fortifying from within rather than [exchanging] proposals with the owners." Amick reported Hunter and "other staff members" will be a part of the player sessions, which will be a "discussion on lockout life and how best to handle it, with topics ranging [from] players' health insurance to the overseas option that continues to evolve." Meanwhile, players are "exploring exhibition games as a way to make lockout money." A game this weekend in the Philippines "will include a star-studded group" headed by Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Hornets G Chris Paul (, 7/18). Lakers G and NBPA President Derek Fisher's manager, Jamie Wior, yesterday confirmed that Fisher "plans to play in a pair of exhibition games in the Philippines." A source said that Fisher will join Bryant, Paul, Thunder F Kevin Durant and Bulls G Derrick Rose, among others, in "representing the MVP Sports Foundation." The team is "expected to play in a pair of exhibition games July 23 and 24 against the Philippine Basketball Assn.'s All-Star team and the Smart Gilas national team at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City" (, 7/18).

Howard (r) says he is considering playing
overseas if NBA lockout continues
STAR PURSUIT:'s Marc Stein noted Turkey's NTV Spor yesterday reported that Turkish club Besiktas has placed its pursuit of Bryant "on hold." Besiktas recently reached an agreement to sign Nets G Deron Williams "if the NBA lockout drags on." But the team's "basketball funds have been tied up by the match-fixing scandal that has ripped through the Turkish soccer world, forcing Besiktas to search for outside funding to help with the further pursuit of NBA players" (, 7/18). Meanwhile, Magic C Dwight Howard "continues to say he might play abroad if the NBA's labor impasse continues," and in Orlando, Josh Robbins weighs the "pros and cons of such a move." Howard "can raise his profile by playing abroad and make himself even more attractive when it's time to sign his next endorsement deal." But Howard also can become an NBA free agent next summer, and a "significant injury could hurt his earning power" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/19). ESPN’s Jim Rome said it is "smart” to play overseas because of the “opportunity to brand, to expand your name” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 7/18).

: In West Palm Beach, Ethan Skolnick noted several agents who "represent starter-level -- but not star -- NBA players" raised the issue that most foreign teams are "unlikely to give escape clauses to their players, allowing them to return in the event that a lockout ends." The "most important games in Europe, as in the United States, tend to be after New Year's." Skolnick: "It doesn't make much sense for a team to go to all the trouble of signing an American player -- someone likely to emerge as a key component on a roster -- only to need to replace that player just when the games start to matter" (, 7/18). In Dallas, Kevin Sherrington writes under the header, "World Of Shock Awaits Deron Williams, NBA Stars Overseas" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/19).

: President Jonathon Givony on Twitter reported that the NBPA's "goal is to find an insurance policy that European teams can pay on month to month basis, rather than upfront for the entire year" (, 7/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Freeman wrote the plan "seems smart, especially because many players who go overseas will want to return to the NBA if and when" a new CBA is reached. Freeman: "Players will want flexibility with any foreign employer, and these plans provide it. The NBPA's involvement in these plans also speaks to its belief that players spending some time in Europe is a good thing for their cause" (, 7/18).