Amare Stoudemire scared the living daylights out of Knicks fans everywhere when he tweeted on July 8 about possibly joining Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv during the lockout. Thankfully, a day later, he wrote on his Twitter account that he thinks "he's going to stay here in the states". Crisis averted.
It's likely that Stoudemire really wanted to go but was strongly advised by the Knicks not to. He spent time in Israel last summer studying and exploring Jewish faith. If you follow him on Twitter, you heard all about it. But with his current contract that still has four years and some $80 million remaining, the Knicks probably begged Stoudemire not to go. The fact that his knees are so fragile that the Knicks couldn't get his contract insured, and that he injured his back during the Knicks' first round playoff series with the Boston Celtics, nothing good could have came with Stoudemire suting up for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Deron Williams' somewhat shocking decision to play in Turkey with Besiktas during the lockout, coupled with the rumors of Kobe Bryant's basketball caravan tour of China has added a new layer to the mess that is the current NBA lockout. If a star player like Williams decides to play overseas while the league is shut down, won't others follow suit? It's likely, and in some cases, who could blame them? The lockout has no end in sight, with the sides so far apart that they don't even have any bargaining sessions scheduled.
(This I just don't understand, in both the NFL and NBA labor situations. You've known for years when your CBA is expiring. You know you have a season coming up. So when the deal expires, everyone takes a month before getting together? This can't be how any regular company would handle the situation if their business was shut down. Stop vacationing, sit down with each other, and get it done.)
If players are free to go to Europe for an extended vacation, play a little ball and make some money, why wouldn't they? Granted of course, that they are completely healthy. Stoudemire is one bad knee tweak away from a serious problem, and it's much better off he stay in America and prepare for the 2011-12 NBA season, whenever it may start.