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Would locked out Celtics consider signing overseas?

Almost 50 years after The Beatles led The British Invasion of rock bands into the popular culture in the United States, none of the self-proclaimed Heatles [1] have committed to participate in what increasingly appears to be an invasion of NBA players into basketball leagues overseas.

But that’s not to say none of the NBA’s superstars aren’t (triple negative!) considering overseas options while the league’s owners have locked out the players with the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. A different wrinkle in this Eurasian Invasion pops up almost every day.

Nets point guard Deron Williams is leading the charge of superstars attempting to create leverage for the players, as he reportedly agreed in principal to a one-year, $5 million deal [2] with Turkey-based (get it?) Besiktas should the NBA’s lockout last through the summer. Upstart Canadian National Basketball League has already extended invites [3] to the likes of Dirk Nowitzi and LeBron James [4]. Imports like Zaza Pachulia [5], Andrei Kirilenko, Marco Belinelli, Patrick Mills and Carlos Delfino are all considering returning overseas. Free agent veterans like Sonny Weems and undrafted free agents like David Lighty have already agreed to deals that will keep them in Europe even if there is a 2011-12 NBA season. And Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant [6] has discussed the possibility of leading a group of players represented by his agent [7], Rob Pelinka, on an exhibition tour of China.

It’s hard to believe that Nenad Krstic [8] started this trend [9], snubbing the Celtics [10] and other free-agent center pursuers to sign with CSKA Moscow for two years and $9.8 million. With new rumors emerging every day, are the Celtics in danger of losing any other members of the 2010-11 roster overseas?

Let’s examine the potential for Celtics to explore options abroad …







The five players not named Garnett currently under contract with the Celtics — Pierce, Ray Allen [26], Rajon Rondo [27], Jermaine O’Neal [28] and Avery Bradley [29] — along with Jeff Green [30], who has received a $5.9 million qualifying offer from the team, are all highly unlikely to attempt a Deron Williams-like departure to Istanbul — unless J.O. is looking to expand his Le Jaunty clothing line [31].

The only other players of consequence are free agents Glen Davis [32] and Delonte West [33] — both of whom the Celtics have expressed interest in re-signing once a collective bargaining agreement is achieved and both of whom are just crazy enough to sign overseas for a year.