30 Jul 2011

Locked out NBA stars cleared to play overseas

1:46 pm on 30 July 2011

Basketball's international federation has given its approval for locked-out NBA players to compete overseas during the work stoppage.

However FIBA says any player who does compete overseas will do so at his own risk, especially if injured.

The clearance comes as more and more NBA players are looking at overseas competition during the season-threatening labour dispute between the league and its players union.

The New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams has already signed with Turkish club Besiktas and Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, one of the world's top players, or his representative is expected to meet with Besiktas officials on Sunday to discuss the possibility of him also playing in Turkey.

League scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder also could go overseas.

He has said the move is about 50-50.

FIBA says the NBA would not object to international play but would require players to return to their NBA teams as soon as the lockout ends.

The NBA locked out its players after talks on a new collective bargaining agreement broke down at the end of June.

The parties are far apart on how to resolve their dispute, the league's first work stoppage since 1998 when a lockout shortened the season to 50 games.

They are scheduled to hold their first labour talks since the lockout in New York next week.