New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams is planning to play in Turkey in the fall if the NBA lockout has not yet been settled, according to sources with knowledge of Williams' thinking.
Sources on Thursday confirmed a report from the Turkey-based sports outlet NTV Spor that Williams has struck an agreement in principal to play for Besiktas, which is the club that briefly employed Allen Iverson last season.
Sources say Williams will not be required to report to the Turkish club before the end of August or early September and that his deal with them will include an immediate out that allows him to return to the NBA as soon as the work stoppage ends.
Williams has two years left on his contract with the Nets but is expected to opt out the final season, valued at nearly $18 million, to become a free agent in the summer of 2012.
Players under contract like Williams would typically need a letter clearance from FIBA -- the sport's world governing body -- to play anywhere else.
But the NBA Players Association has privately maintained for months that it intends to legally challenge any attempt by the NBA or FIBA to block a player such as Williams from playing elsewhere while the NBA has imposed a work stoppage.
"If they try to stop him," one source said of Williams, "the union will fight it."
The bigger risk for Williams is injury-related, especially after he was plagued by a wrist injury throughout the second half of last season after the Nets acquired him from Utah on Feb. 24.
The guaranteed money Williams is owed by the Nets would not be protected in the event of injury overseas, meaning that either Williams or Besiktas will have to make insurance arrangements that protect him against long-term injury.
NTV Spor also reported Thursday that Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia plans to join Williams with Besiktas as well.