NBA AM: Who’s Playing in Las Vegas?
By Alex Kennedy
NBA Writer, HOOPSWORLD
Updated: September 7, 2011, 6:49 am ET
Impact Basketball is working out the final details for their two-week competitive training series, which means NBA stars are beginning to flock to Las Vegas. The league’s rosters won’t be released until Thursday, but over 50 players have already committed to play in next week’s games.
John Wall, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, Stephen Jackson, Chauncey Billups, DeMar DeRozan, Tayshaun Prince, Al Harrington, Jermaine O’Neal, DeAndre Jordan, Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Austin Daye, Jared Dudley, Marreese Speights, Dahntay Jones, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Omri Casspi, Eric Maynor, C.J. Watson, Ryan Gomes, James Anderson, Avery Bradley, Melvin Ely, Armon Johnson and Shawne Williams are among the players that are expected to participate.
The Impact CTS will also feature a number of rookies including Iman Shumpert, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Jordan Williams, Malcolm Lee, Josh Selby, Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Shelvin Mack.
With no summer league or offseason workouts, these first-year players will use the two weeks to build chemistry with their new teammates and adjust to the NBA’s style of play.
Several former NBA players will also compete including Jamaal Tinsley, Bonzi Wells and Damon Jones.
Blake Griffin remains a possibility, but he may not be able to play for the entire two-week period due to his busy schedule. If the lockout continues and September’s series is a success, Impact will hold another two-week session during the month of October, which Griffin would participate in.
The list is subject to change and other players will be added throughout the course of this week. Impact is hoping to have 64 participants so that the eight teams will feature eight players. Some players – such as Leonard – won’t be able to stay for both weeks so having extra bodies to take their place is important.
The games will be streamed online for free and they will also be open to the public. Five hundred tickets will be sold each day and the proceeds will go to charity. Nike has designed jerseys for each of the eight teams and other sponsorships are being discussed. Statistics, standings and more information will be updated on Impact Basketball’s website.
Unlike many other summer leagues, the Impact CTS won’t resemble streetball. Organizers are encouraging players to treat these games as if they were part of the NBA’s regular season. There will be an emphasis on defense and NBA rules will be enforced by referees.
This is the closest thing to the NBA that basketball fans will be able to watch for quite some time. As the NBA’s players and owners continue to meet and iron out a new collective bargaining agreement, the Impact CTS will provide you with a basketball fix.
News and Notes: Here are some items from this week’s news and notes bin.
• Jimmer Fredette is organizing two rookie exhibition games with all proceeds going to his charity. The games will be played in Salt Lake City (9/21) and Provo (9/22) and will feature Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Singleton, Nolan Smith, Malcolm Lee and Isaiah Thomas among other players.