FIBA announced Friday it has agreed to allow NBA players under contract to join overseas clubs during the current lockout.
The agreement from basketball’s international governing body frees players to sign with foreign professional clubs without forfeiting their NBA contract while the work stoppage is in effect. Players are allowed to return to the league as soon as the lockout is lifted.
“It comes as no surprise,” union executive Billy Hunter said in a statement. “We have consistently advised our members that in the event of a lockout they would have the right to be compensated for playing basketball irrespective of whether they were under contract to an NBA team or not. We have encouraged all of our players to pursue such opportunities.”
The news comes as more and more players are rumored to have interest in following the lead of Nets guard Deron Williams, who signed a deal to play with Besiktas in Turkey in late June. Besiktas has also been openly courting Kobe Bryant; Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony have said they are considering China.
FIBA has stated it is up to individual clubs to decide whether or not players must sign a waiver clearing the club of responsibility in the event of an injury.