HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – There will be no FIBA hurdle for NBA players attempting to play overseas during the lockout.
The path was cleared for the players this morning, so says a statement released by the world governing body for basketball. FIBA will approve the transfer of players under contract with NBA teams if they decide to play for teams of FIBA affiliated leagues during the lockout, with several specific stipulations. The most notable caveat being that players choosing to pursue their interests overseas will do so at their “own risk,” per the statement:
During a lockout NBA players who continue to be under contract with an NBA team are free to play anywhere they want, whether for their national teams and/or for club teams.
If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over.
“As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled,” said FIBA Secretary General and IOC member, Patrick Baumann.
“In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account,” he added.
“We are delighted to see that, in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, National Teams competing in this summer’s Olympic Qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars.”
With several high-profile NBA players already declaring their intentions to play overseas, and others mulling their options, the only thing that wasn’t clear was whether or not there would be complications from FIBA.
This morning’s announcement eliminates that potential issue.
*** NOTE: FIBA says each club will decide whether or not they shall sign a waiver clearing them of any responsibility towards the player in case of injury or other reasons preventing a player from returning to the NBA and from fulfilling his obligations vis-à-vis his NBA team.