NBA AM: Who’s Playing in Las Vegas?
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, David Lee, Dorell Wright, Jeremy Lin, Omri Casspi, Hakim Warrick, Eric Maynor, C.J. Watson, Ryan Gomes, James Anderson, Avery Bradley, Melvin Ely, Derrick Caracter, Armon Johnson, Shawne Williams and Terrico White 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.
Brackins Ready to Dominate in Israel: After playing in only three games during his rookie season, Craig Brackins knew that he should sign overseas for the duration of the lockout. The Philadelphia 76ers’ big man wanted to get back out on the court and continue to develop his game during the work stoppage. Brackins weighed a number of deals, but ultimately signed with Maccabi Ashdod in Israel.
“I started thinking about it in July and then I signed in August,” Brackins told HOOPSWORLD. “I knew I didn’t play many games during my rookie year so I figured this would be an opportunity for me to get some experience and also make some money.”
“I had some other offers,” Brackins continued. “I had one deal in Latvia and another in Poland. Those were never official; my agent just told me those were other possibilities. When the Israel deal came up, he negotiated with the team and it seemed like a good situation. I just wanted to go somewhere I could play so I took the deal.”
Maccabi Ashdod has four other Americans on their roster – Alex Tyus, Ramel Bradley, Josh Carter and Josh Duncan – which should make Brackins’ adjustment easier. The fact that nearly everyone in Israel speaks English made his decision easier, and he’s very excited about the opportunity to experience a new culture.
“I had a friend that played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and he told me that everyone pretty much speaks English so it’s easy to adjust,” Brackins said. “That kind of helped too. When I heard that, it made me feel better about my decision. I’m really excited. I think it’ll be a good experience for me. Not a lot of people can say that they’ve been to a foreign country. It’s more than just a good opportunity for me – it’s also a great experience.”
As he considered all of his overseas offers, Brackins made it clear he wasn’t going to sign anywhere that didn’t allow him to have an NBA opt-out clause.
“It was very important. I worked so hard to get to the NBA so the only way I was going overseas was if I had an NBA-out. If I couldn’t have gotten one of those, I wouldn’t have gone overseas. I don’t know when the lockout is going to end. If it ended and I didn’t have an out, it would have messed up everything that I’ve been working toward,” Brackins said.
Brackins has played against international competition before, when he represented the USA in the 2009 World University Games. Drawing from that experience, he knows that he has to be physical and use his size to dominate down low.
“I want to show my physicality,” Brackins said. “If I can show that overseas, it’ll translate to when I’m playing in the NBA. They let a lot of things go over there. I experienced that when I played for the USA team so I know how I have to play. I’m going to try to dominate the paint. Everybody knows I’m a stretch player that can face up and shoot. Now, I want to go back to my bread and butter like when I was in college, which means dominating in the post. That’s the main thing that I’m going to be focused on.”
Despite playing just 32 minutes during his rookie season, Brackins believes he’s a better player because of his time spent on the bench. He saw the game in a different way and received guidance from Philadelphia’s veterans. In Israel, he’ll get to practice what he learned from the bench and continue his development.
“I learned a lot,” Brackins said. “It started with all of the great veteran players that I had around me. That was a positive for me. Being around them, listening to their advice and knowing they had my back felt good because I knew they were all there for me. Just watching, you learn a lot sitting on that bench. They always say that the best teacher is the bench and that’s a true statement. You see all of the mistakes and listen to the coaches. I definitely learned a lot and now I’ll get some more experience by going overseas. Whenever the lockout ends, I can come back and be ready for next year.”
Brackins arrived in Israel this morning and will make his debut with Maccabi Ashdod later this month.
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.
• Mo Evans won’t be joining Valencia Basket, according to sources close to the situation. Evans received an offer from the Spanish team, but turned it down. Instead, he’ll continue to serve as vice president on the NBPA’s executive committee.
• Deron Williams was supposed to arrive in Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, but experienced “passport troubles” that caused a slight change of plans. If all goes as planned, he’ll leave for Istanbul today.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: NBA Chats: There are two chats on today’s schedule. CBA guru Larry Coon will answer your questions during his salary cap chat today at 3 p.m. ET. HOOPSWORLD’s newsline editor Mark Nugent will host his weekly NBA chat at 5 P.M. ET. These chats fill up fast so submit your questions early. You can view all of HOOPSWORLD”s upcoming chats here.