With a labor dispute threatening the 2011-12 NBA season, the agents for the second-round picks the Orlando Magic acquired in last month’s draft said they will at least look into playing opportunities overseas for their clients.
Lance Young, who represents forward Justin Harper, said Thursday that although he and Harper have discussed potential opportunities in Europe, it's probably in Harper's “best interests” to remain in the United States and wait for the lockout to end.
“We're exploring all opportunities for Justin,” Young said.
“I think that's the bottom line. We have talked about Europe. As a second-round pick, he's not guaranteed anything. But right now the European market, just like with our economy here, the European deals are down 20 to 30 percent compared to what they were a couple of years ago. I just think a guy like Justin would be a player that could really help the Magic, and I think that staying around here is probably in his best interests right now.”
Henry Thomas, who represents shooting guard DeAndre Liggins, said foreign teams have shown “some interest” in his client.
“My responsibility would be at least to field the offers, and if they are significant enough, then at least share them with him and evaluate them,” Thomas said. “The prudent thing to do at this point is to evaluate what’s out there, and a decision would have to be made if it was something attractive enough for him to be interested in or not.”
As the NBA lockout entered its seventh day on Thursday, multiple American news outlets confirmed that New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams is planning to play for the Turkish club Besiktas this fall if the lockout hasn't been settled.
Harper and Liggins obviously have shorter résumés than Williams, who has played in two NBA All-Star Games.
The Cleveland Cavaliers used the 32nd overall pick in last month's draft on the 6-foot-9 Harper, who has impressive shooting range and four years of experience playing at the University of Richmond. The Magic acquired Harper's draft rights by trading their second-round pick in 2013 and their second-round pick in 2014 to the Cavaliers.
The Magic used the 53rd overall pick in the draft to select Liggins, who is 6-6 and played three seasons at the University of Kentucky.
After a press conference in Orlando last week, before the lockout started, both Harper and Liggins said they had no interest in playing overseas.
But second-round picks didn't have it easy in the NBA's recently expired collective bargaining agreement.
While the salaries of first-round picks were guaranteed for their first two seasons, most second-round picks typically went to their first NBA training camps with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts.
In the short term, the lockout will hinder the development of rookies such as Harper and Liggins.
The Magic's summer league in Orlando and the NBA's summer league in Las Vegas have been canceled, and players are not allowed to train at their new teams' practice facilities.
Young said Harper likely will train for a while in Washington, D.C. Harper also will consider other training opportunities, including one in Boston, where Harper has trained in the past.
Liggins has said he probably will train on the Kentucky campus.
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