Commentary

NBA players currently overseas

Top names unlikely to be fantasy-worthy, unless they can escape contracts

Updated: December 8, 2011, 11:51 AM ET
By Tom Carpenter | Special to ESPN.com

Basketball truly is an international game these days. The reigning NBA Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, is German, two of the top four picks and three of the top 10 in this year's draft were from other countries, and many NBA players headed overseas to play ball during the lockout. That's where we can really see how the game has expanded worldwide. There are professional basketball leagues in dozens of countries. Fortunately, the NBA and the players union salvaged most of the season, so we aren't left watching tape-delayed games from Latvia.

Most of the players who signed contacts overseas had an opt-out option to use immediately after the NBA lockout ended. However, a number of them did not get such a clause, which means none of them will join an NBA team until after their overseas season is completed. It's possible a buyout could be worked out, but that can't be expected -- especially in China, where they have repeatedly rejected the notion of releasing NBA players under contract. Most of the fantasy-relevant players are balling in China, though another big name is first-round pick Jonas Valanciunas, who is playing in his native Lithuania.

Below are the NBA players who do not have an opt-out clause in their contracts, the length of their regular season overseas and an approximation of how many NBA games will remain when their contracts run out. Keep in mind this is a best-case scenario, where a player's overseas team doesn't make the playoffs and he immediately joins an NBA team and starts playing right away.

The bottom line is that there's little sense in wasting a roster spot on any of these players unless you are in a deep league with a deep roster that allows you to simply stash a guy indefinitely. Realistically, you'll keep an eye on them via waivers if it sounds like they will head back to the NBA. Below are the players under contract in various leagues worldwide:

Players are listed with their last NBA team. Most are free agents, with restricted free agents designated with an (R).

[+] EnlargeChandler
Ron Chenoy/US PresswireWilson Chandler is capable of helping in multiple categories, but fantasy owners will have to wait.

Chinese Basketball Association
Wilson Chandler (R), Denver Nuggets (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions); J.R. Smith, Nuggets (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions); Aaron Brooks (R), Phoenix Suns (Guangdong S. Tigers); Kenyon Martin, Nuggets (Xinjiang Flying Tigers); Josh Powell, Atlanta Hawks (Liaoning Panpan Hunters); Dan Gadzuric, New Jersey Nets (Jiangsu Dragons)

Regular season ends on or about Feb. 15, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: Up to 35

Russian Professional Basketball League
Chris Quinn, San Antonio Spurs (Khimki Moscow); Nenad Krstic, Boston Celtics (CSKA Moscow) -- Krstic can buy himself out of the contract for $1 million, half of which can be covered by an NBA team

Regular season ends on or about May 7, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: None

Italian Basketball Federation
Chris Douglas-Roberts (R), Milwaukee Bucks (Virtus Bologna) -- CDR inked a two-year deal with no opt out, so it appears he won't even be an option for NBA teams when the IBF season is complete; David Andersen, New Orleans Hornets (Montepaschi Siena); Mustafa Shakur, Washington Wizards (Novipiu Casale); Mario West, Nets (Tezenis Verona); Garrett Temple, Charlotte Bobcats (Novipiu Casale)

Regular season ends on May 6, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: None

Turkish Basketball League
Sasha Vujacic, Nets (Anadolu Efes); Darius Songaila, Philadelphia 76ers (Galatasaray)

Regular season ends: April 28-29, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: None

Ligue Nationale de Basketball (France)
Hilton Armstrong, Hawks (ASVEL Villeurbanne)

Regular season ends on May 16, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: None

Greek Basketball League
Jon Diebler, Portland Trail Blazers (Panionios)

Regular season ends on April 11, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: 5-7; realistically, none.

Liga ACB (Spain)
Joey Dorsey, Toronto Raptors (Caja Laboral); Pooh Jeter, Sacramento Kings (Joventut Badalona); Bismack Biyombo, Bobcats (Fuenlabrada) -- Biyombo, a 2011 draft pick, is suing to get out of his contract. The trial is scheduled for Dec. 19, so he could be late if he isn't successful or doesn't reach a settlement quickly.

Regular season ends: May 5-6, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: None

Lithuanian Basketball League
Sonny Weems, Raptors (Zalgiris Kaunas); Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors (Lietuvos Rytas) -- Valanciunas, a 2011 draft pick, would be an intriguing sleeper, if he got out of his contract with Lietuvos, but it's appearing unlikely that will happen.

Regular season ends on Jan, 7, 2012

Potential NBA games remaining: Up to 55.

Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

Tom Carpenter

Fantasy and Insider
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball and football analyst, co-host of the Fantasy Focus Basketball podcast, and an NBA, NFL and NHL analyst for Insider and Rumor Central.

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