What is the surest way to get the attention of the mega-rich owners? Answer: A swift and decisive kick to their wallets. The players have in their grasp a 'nuclear' option which would terrify the NBA oligarchs and would insure a quick resolution to the lockout. The NBA's marketing focus is the promotion of its superstars. This tactic has been wildly successful for the league as a whole. And the players can effectively use this same principal against the owners...
I recently read an article on Shoothoops entitled 'NBA players not faring well in Europe'. The gist of this article was that this was not a viable alternative for NBA players as a whole. The writer further pointed out the disparity in perks and paychecks and suggested that the 'greedy, bastard NBA owners' were not so greedy after all and that the players might want to put their tails between their legs and consider knuckling under to The Man.
Yep. Absolutely no way foreign basketball leagues can supplant the league for NBA players as a whole, but then again that is not necessary; the leverage afforded to the players is that foreign basketball leagues are an option for NBA superstars. Consider the maxim: 'At its heart, the NBA is a league of superstars'. An easily derivable corollary to this would be: 'Therefore, any league which has the superstars would be equivalent to the NBA'. See where I'm going with this? During the NBA season, we are all witness to the pimping of upcoming games which goes something like this - 'Next Sunday, watch Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls take on LeBron James in South Beach!'. Admittedly, that sounds much sexier than 'Watch the Chicago Bulls vs. the Miami Heat'.
But what if the top ten players in the league agreed to play overseas. Furthermore, what if these players agreed to a clause in their contracts that they would relinquish the possibility of returning to the NBA for the current season if there was not an agreement in place by January 15, 2012. This ploy could be further sharpened if said players ALL played for the Euroleague. Presto! Change-O! Instant NBA alternative.
Trust me. The owners would fall all over themselves to settle in order to preclude the possibility of hearing these chilling words: "Next Sunday, watch Derrick Rose and Real Madrid as they seek to punish Kobe's Bennet Kantu!"