Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:
Already accustomed to international basketball, thanks to his 2008 Beijing Olympic experience, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul this weekend is heading to the Philippines for a two-game exhibition series, and said Wednesday he’s keeping his options open about playing overseas this fall if the NBA lockout persists.
Paul is joining fellow Olympian Kobe Bryant, along with players such as Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, Oklahoma Thunder forward Kevin Durant and reigning league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, for two games in Quezon City’s Araneta Coliseum that will benefit the MVP Sports Foundation, a group committed to aiding youth sports.
“The (foundation) over there is all about giving back and helping out kids,” Paul said Wednesday, adding he committed to the event just in the past week. “That’s something I feel strongly about also. I’m going over there with a few other guys, and we’re going to play. I found out about this through D-Fish (Fisher). He let me know about it.”
The timing of the event coincides with the recent flurry of NBA players such as Paul’s close friend, New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, signing on with European teams because of the lockout that began July 1. Several of Paul’s former Hornets teammates, including Hilton Armstrong, Darius Songaila and David Andersen, also are heading overseas to play this fall.
InsideHoops.com editor says: One by one, NBA players, when asked about it, will mostly say that yes, they are “open” to playing overseas. It simply makes no sense for most guys to flat-out reject the possibility. I’d say that players who are on the NBA fringe and maybe in trouble of falling out of the league might be the only ones to maybe say they won’t go overseas, but that’s because if they do, they might not be able to get back into the league. But for all the players who know they have a place in the NBA for years to come, there’s no reason to absolutely, firmly reject global possibilities.