The International Basketball Federation, also known as FIBA, announced Friday that NBA players currently "under contract" with NBA teams will be allowed to play internationally, with the caveat that they return to the NBA once the lockout ends.
"If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA-affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over."
While it's obvious that FIBA would welcome NBA-level talent, it is interesting that FIBA is co-operating with a league that can't fix its own problems. This co-operation with the NBA may open the gates for more players to feel comfortable playing overseas. Any leverage that the Player's Association may have gained by having NBA talent go overseas, though, has been lessened by the contractual obligation to return to the NBA. The chance of injury while playing abroad, though perhaps significant, can easily be equated in the owner's minds to the chances of a player injuring themselves in the States playing pick-up basketball or soccer.
Even though it's a good welcoming sentiment for NBA players thinking about playing abroad, it isn't going to help their cause in the lockout battle.