With the lockout in fuill swing, the mass exodus to Europe doesn't look too bad. The biggest name is Deron Williams going to play in Turkey, and up-and-coming Sonny Weems have already committed next year to play overseas. We are sure to see more players begin to pack their bags and take their talents elsewhere, but when will we see BIGGER names move as well. Kobe, a global icon and his hypercompetitive attitude could land overseas. But according to Deron Williams, he sees it as a permanent move versus a temporary move.
The Lakers guard is bound to lose just over 40 million dollars if the owners get the required salary reduction of 33%. For most, that would make you consider whether going is the best option. But the NBA is still the NBA, the mecca of basketball, as for now, for money and competition. Even if Kobe has to take a marginal pay cut, assuming he has been takin care of his money, probably has enough in the bank to last him a long time. So, I belive that money is not the reason why Kobe leaves for Europe, its all about timing.
Kobe is 32 going on 33. He has logged more minutes and games than Jordan did at this point of their careers (mainly because Jordan took time off). Kobe has been biten by small but lingering injury bugs that wont derail his career, but definitely have him on notice about it. Knowing that a possible full year could be lost, a whole year without competition could do a body good, but hinder the mind. Jordan was the uberexception, seemingly coming back to basketball from whatever his prior retirement engagements willed him. But most players, and by most is the 99% that are not Jordan, seem to struggle and never return to their old selves after the stint away from their games. I believe Kobe is that 1% and could take an entire year off to benefit his body, but his competitive mind state has other plans. Kobe will probably play overseas on a temporary contract if the lockout seems to hinder the season. As to the permanent move, I highly doubt Kobe will make that transition now, with his team still able to contend. If he was clearly on the back end of his career, which he still has at least 3-5 years of solid play left, then leaving for Europe for good would be more eminent. But for now, all moves away from the Lakers at least till his contract ends is a temporary move, at least we all hope here in LA.