Monday, September 28, 2009

Sharing The Wealth: Vinny Del Negro Talks NBA Europe

Former Wolfpack guard and current NBA coach, Vinny Del Negro, talked to BBC Sports recently about the expansion to the NBA overseas. Del Negro is one of a handful of former Pack players that are trying their hand in the coaching ranks. Del Negro has had a pretty successful go of it, coaching a young yet talented Chicago Bulls team.

The point that Del Negro brings up is certainly an interesting one, and something that many have already been thinking about due to the buzz and press that European players are getting. Take for example, Josh Childress. A former All-American guard out of Standford who instead of sitting on an NBA bench and trying to work his way into a starting role, decided to take the European route. Childress now plays in Greece and is a country-wide superstar. Childress signed a 3 year, $20 million contract to play with Olympiacos Piraeus and turned down a 5 year $33 million offer from the Atlanta Hawks. In Europe, top players not only receive their salary, but also have the team pay for their car, their house, their food and their taxes. This means that almost their entire salary can be put in the bank, untouched.

With the US economy not fairing so well and people cutting corners at every turn, it gives these Euro Leagues a chance to strike. It only takes luring one superstar away from the NBA to turn their league into one that is seen as elite. This is why the NBA is looking to expand. With their name and reputation, the NBA could plant a team down in a country, shut down the current league and pull profit from that area. It sounds like a rather simple idea, however, there are a few catches that Del Negro hits on.

"Travel is going to be the difficult part. I think you're definitely going to have good enough players.If you play on the east coast and you fly from New York to LA it's a four or five hour trip. New York to London is very similar," said Del Negro.

"I know it's something the NBA is continually looking at and that's for them to make those decisions. We have great accommodations but it's a couple of days of travel, the time change is a huge factor. There's a lot of things that go into it and a lot of things that need to be done."

This is an interesting topic, especially considering how prep players are now considering Europe instead of college, in some cases. The NBA would certainly do itself a favor by expanding, but there would be a lot of decisions that would need to be worked out.

That being said, what do you think the NBA should do? Do you agree with Vinny that it's something that is going to happen soon? Do you think it's a good idea?


16 Responses to "Sharing The Wealth: Vinny Del Negro Talks NBA Europe"
  1. Ismael said...
    September 28, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    I think there'd be a lot of local resistance to Americans taking over another country(ies)'s professional league and i'd imagine the EU would cite anti-trust violations but that may swing both ways.

    Also, any kid that goes to Europe, there's only about 50 more who are probably similarly gifted athletes who'd love to take his place on the bench or in the D league.

    It all may happen eventually but i don't see it happening 'soon'.

  2. Bradford said...
    September 28, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Terrible idea. They've been talking about this for a long time. The travel would be a mess. And the whole "I'm going to play in Europe instead of the NBA" is not going to become a trend. How many players have talked about it, then signed a 1 year, $1 million offer to play in the NBA? From what I've heard, a lot of players don't get paid when they go to Europe. The teams are ripping their players off all over the place and it's not nearly as regulated as the NBA. A team in Mexico or Central America? Sure. But Europe? I just don't see it as viable.

  3. Dof87 said...
    September 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    The NBA already plays too many games in a season. The players get tired and just pace themselves. No way would it make sense to add 8-10 hour flights. The game would degrade.

    Let Europe build up their own league using NBA rules then eventually play a world championship series against the NBA champion. That would be fun to watch.

  4. redfred said...
    September 28, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Wait a minute guys, you're not thinking this thing completely through. Especially when you say stuff about the Euro ballers not getting paid and all. You all know good and well that the good guys/Americans from the NBA would rush in over there and bail every one of those leagues out. Ticket prices would probably go up here in the good ol' US of A, but what the hell, the Europeans will tell that they deserve to be bailed out, and we deserve to pay more.

  5. morpheus647 said...
    September 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    Thats a really cool idea. Maybe start the season off with each team playing against a foreign team, and then like you said have the champions play each other. Just rotate the game between the US and whatever other country every year.

  6. Dof87 said...
    September 28, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    morpheus647, don't encourage me, or I might start a rant on my other ideas.... like how about splitting the NBA regular season into 3 "rounds". Then award "playoff points" to the teams with the best records in each round, heavily weighting points to the top 3. Then the teams with most points at end of teh 3 round season enter the playoffs. I think this would produce more meaningful games during the season.

    OK, no more from me on this, I prefer to stick w/college ball

  7. Pack Leader said...
    September 28, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    European Pro basketball hurts college basketball IMO. More and more you hear of top talent not wanting to attend classes and school so they take the easy way out and go to Europe for a year then come into the NBA, essentially leapfrogging the "1 year rule". (which dont get me started on, its totally useless and does more harm than good. If a kid wants to jump up at 18, let him but if he wants to go to school, he must stay for 3 years just like baseball. No more using college basketball like a daycare for a year then jump, hurting all teams. When you see teams like Duke struggling to plug holes from one and doners, you gotta know its hurting everyone)

  8. morpheus647 said...
    September 28, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Pack Leader, I would love to see the three year rule in college basketball. The game is definitely losing out because of kids jumping up after one year. The level of play would be much higher if all of these kids stayed. Look at how good UNC was because they had NBA talent that stuck around instead of bolting (as much as I hate to acknowledge it)

  9. Bradford said...
    September 28, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    Why would the NBA bail out failing European leagues? Professional ball in Europe is a joke right now. How many leagues are there? I don't know anybody that knows for sure. Save for a couple teams, their (significantly smaller) arenas are borderline empty. It's like the MLS here. Nobody cares about professional soccer in America because we all know the best players are over in Europe, and who wants to pay to see second rate professional sports? Look at Nenad Kristic and Janero (sp?) Pargo last year. They bolted to Europe for money and halfway through last season came back to the NBA because conditions are terrible over there and the teams weren't paying out their "guaranteed" contracts. The NBA has no reason to put stake in those leagues.

    And as for the kids going to play pro ball instead of staying in America, I don't see that turning into a big problem either. Look at the Brandon Jennings case. He was on a championship team in Europe. As a result, he rode the bench the whole season instead of starting for a college team. Those teams are looking to win a championship, not play babysitter for someone that's going to leave a year later. They play their vets that know their system. Not to mention the general distaste for Americans in Europe. As a result, nobody knew what to expect and he didn't even show up at the draft initially because his agent didn't think he'd be a lottery pick rather than the projected top 5 he was coming out of high school.

  10. redfred said...
    September 28, 2009 at 5:53 PM

    Didn't really mean to get you stirred up there ^Bradley, but I was kind of being factitious in my earlier comment.

    Seriously though, in my opinion, the NBA is limiting it's own popularity, as well as stunting it's own financial well being, by allowing kids to enter their ranks without them first becoming familiar to the millions and millions of loyal collegiate BB fans out there.

    I personally, don't really get any thrill whatsoever out of watching a bunch of guys whom I've become very familiar with over the course of their collegiate BB careers, half-heartedly going through the motions for months on end, during the NBA's grueling regular season. Much less a bunch of guys...that I've never ever even heard of in my lifetime.

    I don't live in an NBA town though, never have. Charlotte, but that was years ago, and well before any NBA franchise ever set foot in town. Maybe it's a different animal when you're a little closer to the action? As for me, living where I do now, and with the way the professional game has perverted every basic rule of the game that I know as basketball, I couldn't care less about anything involving the NBA.

  11. morpheus647 said...
    September 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    redfred, I lived in an NBA town (Charlotte) and it didn't make it anymore interesting. Although the problem for that might have been that it's the Bobcats, who aren't very good and don't have a "superstar" that makes it exciting to watch the game.

    It also might be much more exciting if you are in a place where there are not any huge college teams. We are kinda spoiled having State, Duke, and UNC in our area, but there are plenty of NBA teams in areas where there is maybe one really good college team

  12. Bradford said...
    September 28, 2009 at 7:01 PM

    I started following the Hornets when I was 8 years old and have been an NBA fanatic since. Your reference to "pervert[ing] every basic rule of basketball" is laughable ignorance though. From a purely basketball standpoint, the college game has become a joke. I love ACC basketball. I grew up as a State fan and as an alumni follow every little bit of information I get. But that's the thing about college basketball, it relies solely on the loyalty of its fan base, not on the quality of basketball being played. If I'm not watching March Madness or the ACC, I can't watch college basketball. It's a complete mess. People seem to think that college basketball is where the fundamentals are and the NBA is just athleticism, but that's a joke. There was a period of time following the Jord-Bird-Magic era where the NBA was unwatchable, dominated by the Allen Iverson's of the world. Nothing but 1-on-1 play while everyone else stood around. But that's a thing of the past. Look at the teams dominating the NBA right now and tell me that the Magic, Lakers, and Celtics don't play fundamentally sound basketball with elite athleticism. College basketball has become just as guard heavy and more dependant on the refs distinguishing between a charge and a block. Is that defense? Sliding under a guy hoping for the right call? Give me an NBA ball hawk any day over a charging call after the player has already released the ball and is just coming down.

    btw, I'm not getting riled up. I just like these discussions and I believe that most people who thing college basketball is better than the NBA is speaking from a position of ignorance either in terms of the league or the sport in general. Again, I love NC State basketball. I pay for the college basketball pass just to see all the games. But you can't confuse enthusiasm for quality.

  13. redfred said...
    September 28, 2009 at 8:13 PM

    Come on Bradford, don't hold back, tell us what you really think.

    I'll take your "ignorance" label in the spirit that you intended it. (I think anyway???) The NBA game lost me years ago.

    But Bradford, if you fell in love with a professional BB Charlotte, North EIGHT YEARS OLD...then PUHLEASE don't even try tell me that you know how the college is supposed to be played, or that the NBA is actually the PUREST form of basketball, because you really haven't been on this planet long enough to know.

    Your early exposure to the very liberal and laxed translation of the rulebooks that IS, and has been for many decades now, 'professional basketball', has taken away your ability to recognize what the game basketball was originally intended to be.

    Whether it's the players (not all, but most), the franchises, the networks, or the advertizers, professional BB is all about the money, honey. The exceptions are there in every aspect, no doubt, but they are the minority.

    BTW, I too, enjoy these discussions.

  14. Bradford said...
    September 28, 2009 at 10:12 PM

    What does age have to do with knowing and understanding basketball? 4 corners is pure basketball? Really? The game is so much more complex than that now. Part of what's great about sports in general is the progression of it. You have to embrace the progress of the game. I certainly don't want to watch a bunch of guys shooting set, 2 handed shots into peach baskets nailed to a wall. And if you want to start talking about "purity" and age, were you around to talk with James Naismith and watch the games he organized? Based on your definition, that's pure basketball, not whatever it is you grew up watch. You're too young to know real basketball too (unless you're over 118 years old, then I retract that statement). I would love to sit down with you and break down a basketball game, look at offensive and defensive sets, play calls, primary and secondary breaks... Then we can see what age has to do with it. I would agree that basketball has gotten a little soft with hand check rules and what have you, but college basketball has been just as victimized if not more so. It's even more guard dominated than the NBA. Am I bothered by the lax traveling calls? Absolutely. Do I hate the star treatment? Of course. I know basketball. I know the rules. I'm not offended by your accusations of "not knowing" because you don't know me and I feel like most new fans the game now suffer from that problem because of how the media feeds it to them. But trust me, I'm not nearly as clueless as you seem to think I am.

    What is it about the modern college game that makes it better, or more "pure"? I agree with you that the league is all about money. But I don't think it affects the actual game as much as you seem to think it does. I turn off the commentary, ignore all pregame, halftime, and post game analysis, and watch the game for the game and not all the garbage that comes with it. It's not nearly as fun, agreed. There's nothing better than a pep band and student section to get the energy going. But the game itself. The execution, the coaching... The NBA is superior. But don't be delusional about the "purity" of college basketball now. It's been whored out too, they just try to hide it. But it's still there. You don't think that the administration has dollar signs in their eyes?

    Again, this is all in good fun. The ignorance comment wasn't meant to be rude, it's just obvious that you haven't watched pro basketball in some time. Naivety might be more accurate.

  15. redfred said...
    September 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Bradford, I think we're talking about two different aspects here, and believe me, I am surely NOT trying to convince you or anyone, that today's collegiate BB is in any way "pure". That in itself would be the very definition of "ignorance". But I do think that we possibly agree a little more than we know.

    You are basically talking about the evolution of the overall play, the players, and new strategies and methods that are involved in today's game. And which I totally concur. I also say that those changes are just a matter of the "natural" progression of BB, or ANY sport for that matter. Believe me, that type of evolution/progression is just as welcomed in my book, as it is in yours.

    I, OTOH, am speaking about the context, the format, the derivation from the written rule as it stands, and the general watering down of what was once, a much more pure and straightforward game called college basketball. A game that was naturally separated from it's big brother in the professional game, because of it's steadfast attempts to adhere to the written rule. It wasn't ever all about show, it didn't cater to the crowds, it was just BB, played like it was supposed to be played. And by a set of rules that weren't written and didn't particularly value, or even take into consideration, whether or not you and I as fans were being 100% entertained while we were sitting on butts out there watching it.

    As far as your description, and telling me that I don't know basketball because it's obviously apparent to you that the pro's play better a brand of BB...???

    Really now, is that a fact? I mean, I would't exactly go to HS games either, expecting to see a kid who has five other teammates surrounding him who have been carefully picked over and selected as the ulitmate creme de la creme, and who have all been playing the game for say, 18 to 20 years or so, and can play at a level that is comparable to the NBA, now would I?

    If I'm not mistaken, that's why the pro's get PAID the unbelievable salaries that they do, and why other such things, like exactly what I'm speaking about, are known as "amateur" athletics/BB to begin with???

    I say that that the...go straight out of HS, or wait for three years rule, will eventually benefit the NBA just as much as it does the NCAA, by possibly gaining them back a share of the collegiate BB crowd who can't relate to their players, and have lost interest in their version of the game over the years.

    That's it for now, lunchtime is over, back to the grind.

  16. Dof87 said...
    September 29, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    The NBA suffers the same problem as baseball. Too many games in a season. When every game is not important to win, then there are too many games.


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