The NBA’s euro problem

Al Bello/Getty Images It was only a matter of time before the declining dollar affected the world of sport. In years past, the Europe’s prime basketball talent bolted across the pond for the superior pay and play of the NBA. Now, the trend appears to be heading in the opposite direction, thanks to the rising ...

593856_080721_euroNBA5.jpg
593856_080721_euroNBA5.jpg
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 10: Bostjan Nachbar #7 of the New Jersey Nets and Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks battle for the ball during their game at the Izod Center February 10, 2008 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Al Bello/Getty Images

It was only a matter of time before the declining dollar affected the world of sport. In years past, the Europe's prime basketball talent bolted across the pond for the superior pay and play of the NBA. Now, the trend appears to be heading in the opposite direction, thanks to the rising euro and an influx of Russian investment in the European league. Suddenly, playing in Europe doesn't sound like such a bad idea after all.

Former New Jersey Net Bostjan Nachbar (above left, with Dallas's Dirk Nowitzki) is the latest player to spurn the NBA and sign a more lucrative contract with a European team, which pays in the much more attractive euro, and often tax-free:

Al Bello/Getty Images

It was only a matter of time before the declining dollar affected the world of sport. In years past, the Europe’s prime basketball talent bolted across the pond for the superior pay and play of the NBA. Now, the trend appears to be heading in the opposite direction, thanks to the rising euro and an influx of Russian investment in the European league. Suddenly, playing in Europe doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.

Former New Jersey Net Bostjan Nachbar (above left, with Dallas’s Dirk Nowitzki) is the latest player to spurn the NBA and sign a more lucrative contract with a European team, which pays in the much more attractive euro, and often tax-free:

The NBA had better be careful,” Nachbar said. “European teams are offering a lot of money. It’s much more, considering there are no taxes, than what I could make signing for the midlevel exception.”

Once confined to players with previous overseas experience, the trend is spreading to home-grown Americans, too. Highly rated high schooler Brandon Jennings, struggling with academic issues, shocked the college basketball world by opting to play in Europe instead of attending school. And Atlanta’s Josh Childress, unhappy with the state of contract negotiations with the Hawks, is weighing an offer to play in Greece.

Although the NBA, already cultivating the Chinese market, has been eyeing European expansion, I don’t think this is exactly what Commissioner David Stern had in mind.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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