NBA Free Agents 2011: Players Who Would Be Better off Staying Overseas

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2011

DENVER, CO - APRIL 23:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot against Nazr Mohammed #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With the NBA lockout over, some players have already found their way back to the US and are waiting for training camp to start. Players like Deron Williams obviously should return home, but there are a few who are better off staying overseas. 

First and foremost there are the players in China who really don't have much of a choice in the matter. The main reason they are better off staying overseas is that they have to. They are obligated by the contracts they signed to remain until the Chinese season ends this March. 

Players in China include Aaron Brooks, Wilson Chandler, Dan Gadzuric, Luther Head, Kenyon Martin, Josh Powell, JR Smith and Yi Jianlan. Even faking an injury isn't enough to get them out of their contracts. 

Chris Douglas Roberts is another matter. He could opt out of his contract, but has decided not to. The former teammate of MVP Derrick Rose at Memphis, who came out of college after two years, maybe could have used another year of seasoning. 

In his three years in the pros he hasn't made the starting lineup and often times last year was a DNP coaches decision in spite of being healthy. CDR has decided to stay overseas to honor his contract, and it's a good idea for him. He can use the experience. 

Another player that might want to consider remaining overseas is Sasha Vujacic, who has marginal skills at the NBA level. He will see less playing time this year than he did last with a healthy Deron Williams leading the way for the New Jersey Nets. 

Overall, it's a tough decision to make. Playing overseas, as some players have learned, is not like playing in the US. Paychecks aren't always arriving on time and the travel isn't perfect. Younger players who left college early only to ride pine or senior players who are at home in Europe both have incentives to stay, though.