Basketball's governing body said Friday in Geneva it will clear NBA players under contract to play in its leagues during the lockout, as long as they return once it's over.
In a ruling that paves the way for players to earn a paycheck, FIBA agreed with NBA and players' association officials that players are free to sign anywhere but do so at their own risk of injury.
"As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labor dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled," secretary general Patrick Baumann said in a statement.
Playing overseas has emerged as an option for NBA players during a work stoppage that threatens to last months and could even wipe out the entire season. Nets All-Star Deron Williams has a deal with Turkish club Besiktas — which is also courting Kobe Bryant — and most top players said they would consider playing.
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Union executive director Billy Hunter has endorsed the idea, with players believing it will pressure owners at the bargaining table if they see their players have options elsewhere.
If a player under NBA contract agrees to a deal in a FIBA-affiliated league, he first must be cleared to go by the NBA. The league will allow partial clearance, meaning it must be guaranteed the player returns to his NBA team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. FIBA will then give its approval once the player has signed a declaration stating he will do so.
New coach for Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have a new coach.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Friday that the Pistons have agreed to a three-year deal with Lawrence Frank to be the new head coach. The agreement includes a team option for a fourth year, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the move.
Frank, an assistant coach with Boston last season and a former head coach in New Jersey, will be Detroit's sixth coach in 11 seasons when the NBA lockout ends. The Pistons fired John Kuester in June after they missed the playoffs in both of his two seasons.
A deliberate coaching search, which also included Mike Woodson, Kelvin Sampson, Bill Laimbeer and Patrick Ewing, ended with the franchise choosing to give Frank another chance at a head coaching job. Frank was 225-241 with the Nets, who won two division titles, as many as 49 games in a season and advanced to the conference semifinals three times with him on the bench.
The 40-year-old native of Teaneck, N.J., spent four seasons as a student manager for Bob Knight at Indiana. He was an assistant at Marquette and Tennessee before becoming an NBA assistant in Vancouver and New Jersey.
Detroit won just 30 games last season with a dysfunctional roster on the court and one that was problematic off it for Kuester. Seven players missed at least part of a team shootaround in Philadelphia last season and Kuester played the remaining six in a blowout loss to the 76ers.
When the league resumes play, free agent and former Kentucky Wildcat Tayshaun Prince may part ways with the only NBA team he's played for and free agent Ben Wallace might not be back.
Detroit drafted Kentucky guard Brandon Knight No. 8 overall, adding to its perimeter logjam with Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon.