We haven't even entered into free agency yet, and I can already guarantee you that you will not hear a crazier rumor this off-season than the one you're about to hear. Crazier yet, the rumor doesn't even involve Agent Zero. Check out this juicy bit of information from EuroBasket (via ClipsNation):
Panathinaikos is very close to agree terms with an NBA legend, a transfer which considers being even bigger name than the one of Dominique Wilkins (204-F-60, college: Georgia Tech) 12 years ago. The player is 32 years of age and has 10 active and productive seasons in the NBA with double digits in points and rebounds. Eurobasket.com, will give its readers more information very soon. The player has been seen and talked by the Assistant Coach of Zeljko Obradovic , Dimitris Itoudis three weeks ago upon his trip in USA. Some behind the scene news are taking Dimitris Itoudis in the States especially for the specific player!!
Now I don't know about you, but when I'm thinking of a 32 year old that's played 10 years in the NBA and can put up double digits in points and rebounding, the first (and only) player that comes to mind is this guy:
Could the rumor be full of smoke? Absolutely. I mean, we're talking about a current All-Star playing overseas. It's not something that happens everyday. Even when Dominique Wilkins went overseas, he was past the prime of his career. The year before he went over, he only averaged 17 points and 5 boards with the Celtics. It sounds crazy, but let's look at why Antawn might be considering a move to Greece this off-season:
- Maybe he doesn't see the Wizards in a position where they can win a title in the next 3-4 years. As many veterans have shown over the years, joining a front-runner doesn't always guarantee a ring either, so why not roll the dice and see if you can pull off being a big fish in a smaller pond?
- In case you haven't noticed, European teams are starting to compete with NBA teams money-wise. JC Navarro recently signed a deal with FC Barcelona that would've paid more than NBA team would've given him this off-season. Also, Sasha Kaun signed a deal with CSKA Moscow that's going to pay him more than his rookie deal would've paid with Seattle. Granted, those were both relatively small scale signings, Navarro and Kaun are role players at best in the NBA, but it does make you wonder how much a top-tier European team would be willing to pay to acquire the services of a two-time All-Star. Perhaps Panathinaikos sees Jamison as someone who could serve as a marketing icon for basketball overseas in the same way that David Beckham is serving for soccer in the U.S.
As ClipperSteve mentioned, this is probably just a ploy by Jamison and his agent to get what money they can since this is likely Antawn's last shot to pull in a big paycheck. But I have to say, this has me a little more disconcerted than your average "NBA player to Europe" rumor.