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NBA Players Can Play Overseas During Lockout with Opt-Out Clauses

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 02, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Basketball fans upset by the NBA lockout may be able to watch NBA players overseas in the next few months as a result of a decision by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

The organization, which governs basketball worldwide, announced on Friday that NBA players currently under contract with the league will be permitted to play on national or club teams abroad while the NBA and players' union attempt to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.

Don't worry--this won't affect the season.

In order to play overseas, contracts between NBA players and foreign teams must include an opt-out clause which allows the player to return immediately to the United States upon the end of the lockout, reports the Associated Press.

Additionally, each player must sign a declaration stating that he will do so before being cleared for play.

Even if these provisions weren't in place, players would likely have to return anyway, as they are still obligated under current contracts.

It's unclear how many NBA players will go overseas, but thus far, Reuters reports that the Nets' Deron Williams has signed with Turkish club Besiktas, and that Kobe Bryant is seriously considering Turkish play as well.

In the meantime, the NBA lockout, which has been in place since June 30, seems to be progressing quite slowly. The two sides have only just planned their first meeting for next week, where they will discuss player salaries, free agency, and merchandise.

If the lengthy cooling-off period and the state of the NFL lockout are indicating, the snail's pace at which negotiations are likely to occur will surely impact how the number of NBA players overseas and the length of next season.

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