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(CBS) New Jersey Nets point guard and former University of Illinois star Deron Williams will play in Turkey during the NBA lockout.
“We confirm” the contract with Williams, said Ergin Ataman, the coach of the Turkish team Besiktas, in a telephone interview with the New York Times on Thursday. According to the newspaper, the deal could become official in the next 24 hours.
The NBA owners locked out the players union on June 30, and it seems as the entire 2011-12 season could be in jeopardy.
Usually, the NBA and FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, don’t allow their teams to sign players who are under contract with the other league. However, due to the lockout, those rules may no longer apply. Also, NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear that he wouldn’t prevent players from going overseas to play during the work stoppage.
The New York Times cites NBA officials who indicated that if Williams were injured while playing in Turkey, it could risk nullification of his Nets contract.
Ataman told the newspaper that Williams would have an “out-clause” allowing him to return to the NBA if the lockout is resolved.
This news was first reported by a Turkish television station, NTV Spor, and later confirmed by ESPN.com.