The worlds best basketball player Kobe Bryant in Turkey, Carmelo Anthony in China along with New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul; Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudamire, and Deron Williams have all made public that a trip overseas may be on the cards – the NBA is in real trouble of losing it’s best.
And in the midst of all these names, Australian guard Patty Mills may be one more with international flights booked and a return home to compete in the NBL.
When the time ticked over to 12.01EST in the US on 1 July 2011, an NBA lockout began.
Negotiations involving owners and players with representation from the National Basketball Players Association have at present failed and are on hold.
Lockouts aren’t novel to the American’s with comparable events taking place in 1995 and 1998-99. Although in 95’ when all games were played when an end result was reached in the off-season, 98-99’ was witness to a different outcome by way of only 50 games being played by each team – 464 regular-season games were nowhere to be found; all because of money.
The NFL had a lockout in recent times and there is a slight likelihood of if happening, to our very own AFL.
But let’s get back to the court. Patty will be extremely sought after from NBL boss and former North Melbourne Giant great Larry Sengstock, and Adelaide 36ers and ex-AIS head coach Marty Clarke; and he should, and needs to be.
In Australia, basketball is little by little starting to get noticed once more following a period in the dark, shadowy waters where lack of interest profoundly set in – radically dissimilar from the golden age in the early to mid-1990s.
The homecoming of Mills would be an immense acquisition for the NBL and optimistically situate basketball back in the spotlight.
However, there are walls standing in the way of this happening including the lockout being resolved and the second best basketball region Europe attaining the signatures. Mills may well join with players of the ilk of Amare Stoudamire in answering calls from teams in Spain, Turkey, Israel and China.
Can Mills be the answer for Australian basketball? We will have to wait and see. I know what would be a great upshot for the sport – the big names applying their craft in China and then have the NBL set in motion a strategy to penetrate that market even though Singapore failed. We all have dreams.