There has been no sense of urgency for either side to resume negotiations as the NBA’s labor debacle enters its 54th day. Maybe it’s because the owners are entrenched as they fight for a complete overhaul of the financial system. Or maybe it’s because the players know that even though the NBA’s locked out, many of them WILL, according to Hoopsworld, be getting ready to play ball in a few weeks:
Impact Basketball, one of the premier basketball training sites in the world, will launch their own league in September. Unlike this summer’s popular pro-am leagues that featured a few NBA players on each roster, the teams competing in Impact’s league will be made up solely of professionals. Nearly 70 NBA players will compete in the league and plenty of stars will participate.
Rosters are still being assembled, but Impact has relationships with many notable players, which means this league has the potential to be very entertaining.
Chauncey Billups, John Wall, Paul Pierce, Al Harrington, Corey Maggette, Kyle Lowry, Paul George, J.J. Hickson, Austin Daye, Jared Dudley, Dahntay Jones, Jermaine O’Neal, Craig Brackins, Marreese Speights, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Manny Harris are among the players that have worked out at Impact’s two locations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles this summer.
Follow that Hoopsworld link to get the rest of the potential players involved (including seemingly half of last year’s Boston Celtics roster).
Of course, this won’t replace the NBA season. This will be more of a star-studded summer league kind of thing as opposed to a replacement for the NBA.
Joe Abunassar, the founder and head trainer of Impact Basketball, confirmed that the league will kick off in mid-September, likely during the week following Labor Day. Two games will be played each day and the league is expected to last at least two weeks long. There is a possibility that the games will be streamed online.
Nothing can happen nowadays without a look at how this will impact the labor negotiations, but this one seems pretty simple. If the players band together, put on a two-week league that is streamed online, and the public eats it up, then the players suddenly have an upper hand in negotiations. If they could get a large response to these games, then owners will have no choice but to take notice.
Remember, the owners’ idea of why the money rolls in is a bit skewed. So this league will either be a good reminder to them that it’s the players who are the cash cows in this scenario, or it will only serve as confirmation to them that they are the puppet masters and the players are merely dancing around on strings for everyone’s amusement. If the players make a huge marketing push and it falls flat, then the owners come out ahead.
Everything that happens during a negotiation is magnified. Everything takes on a much bigger meaning. This is more than just a good workout for a couple of weeks. It’s a litmus test, whether that was the intended meaning or not. It doesn’t seem to be a stretch to suggest that the success of this mini-league can play a meaningful role in how these negotiations play out.