The news of Facu Campazzo’s move to the NBA only confirms that the growing bond between European teams and the NBA can significantly bolster the first financially, especially in such times of crisis.
Campazzo’s $6M buy-out clause adds up to a total of $13M earnings for Real Madrid in the past six years, as they bid farewell to multiple players who took the leap to the NBA.
The first of them was Nikola Mirotic, who arrived in Madrid in 2008, aged 17, and left for the Chicago Bulls after making a name for himself as one of the best bigs in Europe. The Montenegrin/Spanish player’s 2.5 million buy-out clause was activated in 2014.
Two years after, Madrid suffered another great loss: that of Sergio Rodríguez. His first NBA stint might have come too soon, but on his return to Europe, Chacho relaunched his career with Madrid and eventually broke his contract (that was still valid for two more years) in exchange for €3M. Playing under the guidance of coach Pablo Laso, he reached the maturity that motivated the Philadelphia 76ers to present him with a lucrative contract for one season.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic couldn’t be missing from the list. Truth is that his $2M buy-out by no means compensates the Spanish team for losing one of the greatest talents of the Old Continent, but it’s still a notable sum for the Spanish team that sets an example for other European clubs.
The list expands with Willy Hernangómez, Salah Mejri, and Kyle Singler, who all opted to terminate their contracts with the Whites to move to the NBA in recent years. However, this profitable example of Real Madrid is yet not the rule, but a mere exception for European clubs, that have to emerge united and demand a fair share for their NBA prospects.
Slow but steady steps are being taken in this direction. With Aleksej Pokusevski and Deni Avdija being selected in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft, Olympiacos and Maccabi Tel Aviv will respectively receive hefty buyouts for the two players. Maccabi is estimated to earn more than a $1M compensation for Avdija, while Pokusevski’s sum will rise up to $1.5M.
Gabriel Deck could be one more example on the list, as reports from Spain mention he could follow Campazzo’s steps and use the exit clause on his contract with Real Madrid if the latter doesn’t present him with an extension offer soon.
In the words of Slovenian elite coach Zmago Sagadin, both EuroLeague and FIBA must come together and demand a minimum of $5M buyouts from NBA clubs that are looking to recruit talents.
“Euroleague and FIBA have to sit down urgently and say ‘no one can go to the NBA until the teams there have paid (at least) a 5 million dollars buyout’, make them think about it in America. What has been done here for basketball must be respected. I’m afraid that, if it doesn’t, the NBA will make its division here at some point.”
Make no mistake, Sagadin is not exaggerating. European basketball is struggling financially for years, and the COVID-19 crisis has taken a great toll on clubs, national and continental competitions. Making the most of its prospects is the way to go for Europe, as more and more NBA teams are keen on signing both fresh talents and seasoned veterans for their rosters. Somehow, this vicious circle of losing players without the desirable compensation has to be put in the past and this can only happen if the Old Continent powers works in consensus.