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Diaw to play for French team he co-owns if lockout persists

By Wendell Maxey, Special to
Posted Sep 12 2011 9:30AM

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- France can officially get used to having Boris Diaw around if an NBA lockout jeopardizes the 2011-2012 season.

But instead of sporting his national colors at EuroBasket for Les Bleu, the Charlotte Bobcats forward will be donning a jersey for JSA Bordeaux Basket in the French Pro B league.

"If there is a lockout I will play in France with my hometown team in Bordeaux," Diaw told on Sunday afternoon in Vilnius, Lithuania, shortly after the French National Team lost to Spain, 96-69.

"For sure I would go ahead and play with them. For me the decision is easy."

Luckily for Diaw he knows JSA Bordeaux's front office very well.

Diaw is the team president of the club.

In July 2010, Diaw increased his interest in the team when he assumed the role of team president. Prior to his new title, Diaw was a 33-percent shareholder in JSA Bordeaux. When Charlotte was eliminated from making the playoffs last season, Bordeaux's club manager, Denis Lacampagne, and Diaw discussed the possibility of Diaw playing for JSA Bordeaux.

Now the 6-foot-8 forward waits to see whether a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached between NBA owners and the NBPA. Training camps are scheduled to begin in early October and preseason games are slated for Oct. 9.

After seven seasons in the NBA with Atlanta, Phoenix, and Charlotte, Diaw aims to bring his vast experience to the floor for JSA Bordeaux.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, Diaw helped the Bobcats achieve their first playoff berth in franchise history in 2009-10 after Charlotte went 44-38.

"It was a great accomplishment to make it for the first time in the history of the team. I made it to the postseason with Phoenix, but that was expected. In Charlotte there were other expectations and different goals -- the goal in Charlotte was to make it to the playoffs so it felt good to reach that goal."

Last season Diaw played in all 82 games where he averaged 11.3 points and 5 rebounds per game. Since then, Charlotte has once again revamped their roster during the offseason. Gone are Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and Raymond Felton, with rookie Bismack Biyombo, veteran Corey Maggette and the 9th overall pick in June's NBA Draft, Kemba Walker becoming the newest Bobcats.

"Unlike here, we will have a long time to get to know one another," Diaw said.

"In Charlotte we still have to recompose after the changes and get our team together."

Until then, Diaw is set on getting together with JSA Bordeaux. There, he will play alongside his older brother Martin, who is small forward and played Division 2 basketball at California University of Pennsylvania.

"Personally, I'm not worried about the lockout," he explained.

"I have my own team back home."


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