Hester And Wade Both Dealing With Lockouts
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NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) – Dwyane Wade could see himself and other NBA stars eyeing an overseas contract if the lockout drags on, just like New Jersey’s Deron Williams.
Williams was discussing a deal with Turkish team Besiktas, and Wade would consider playing in Europe at some point if the NBA situation is not settled.
“We’ve known that the lockout was a possibility for the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s not just something that came overnight. (Williams) didn’t wake up and say, `All right, go play in Turkey.’ Obviously, this is something that he felt that if a lockout was to last a long time, `I would consider playing.’ It’s because of the game. He wants to play the game, wants to play it at a high level, and if we can’t play in the NBA, he’s going to take that opportunity to try to play somewhere else. Hopefully, we don’t get to that point, but if we do, I’m sure a lot of guys will possibly explore it.”
And Wade made it clear: He could be in that group.
“If there’s an opportunity there, I’d consider it,” he said.
The Miami Heat guard spoke Friday at a suburban Chicago high school where he and Bears star Devin Hester were running basketball and football camps the past two days.
Like Wade, Hester is locked out, and with practices scheduled to begin July 23, the clock is ticking. The Bears would report to training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., a week earlier than most because they’re playing St. Louis in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio.
“If we play Friday and the lockout ends Tuesday, it’s going to take a day and half for us to get to the dorm room and settle in,” Hester said. “That’s an extra day and a half. If we get at least a week and a half to prepare, I think that (would be enough time).”
The Hall of Fame game is actually scheduled for a Sunday, but either way, his point was clear – the Bears need time to prepare.
For now, everything remains up in the air.
An appeals court on Friday threw out a judge’s order lifting the NFL lockout, giving the owners a victory. Meanwhile, commissioner Roger Goodell and players’ union chief DeMaurice Smith were meeting for a second straight day at a Manhattan law firm.
With the lockout wiping out organized team activities, Hester and the offensive skill players have been working out three times a week with quarterback Jay Cutler acting as the de-facto coach. He said that “helped a lot” as the Bears try to build on last year’s run to the NFC title game, but the offense remains a huge question mark entering the second season with Mike Martz as coordinator.
There are issues on the line and at wide receiver, and time with the coaches certainly wouldn’t hurt. Whether they’ll get that soon remains to be seen.
For all the signs that a deal could be close, Hester has his doubts.
“You’re hearing two sides to the story,” he said. “You don’t know the truth. You’ve got your team advisers telling you that the lockout, whatever they’re saying, is negative. And then you hear the TV saying that they just met, it seems like something’s getting done. You’re head’s just spinning. You don’t know what to do. I try not to get involved. I’m going to get ready so when the time comes and I get the phone call, I’m ready.”
As for the NBA, there’s little optimism.
Both sides appear to be digging in for a long fight, a major setback for a league that says it’s bleeding money despite all the excitement brought on by last summer’s free-agent craze and a thrilling run on the court that ended with the Dallas Mavericks beating Wade and the Heat for the championship.
This time last year, Wade was staying in Miami and forming a superstar trio with LeBron James and Chris Bosh after being courted by his hometown Bulls. The Heat struggled at times during the season, but turned it on in the playoffs, beating Derrick Rose and top-seeded Chicago in the Eastern Conference finals before falling to Dallas.
“We fell short of our goal,” Wade said. “But that’s not going to define our lives. We have more basketball to play.”
Question is: When?
And if the lockout drags on, at what point does Wade start looking overseas?
“I don’t know,” he said. “Our season just ended. I’ve got awhile before I start thinking about that. I’ll leave it up to the powers that be, the people behind the scenes, to worry about that.”
© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.