‘Lockout League’ Set to Include Over 40 NBA Players

With the NBA’s start date quickly approaching and now new deal set in place, it’s looking unlikely that players will have a chance to participate in training camp and/or preseason games. As a result, Impact Basketball is organizing the “lockout league,” which will include a variety of NBAers, including Chauncey Billups, John Wall, Zach Randolph, Stephen Jackson and others.

The NY Times has the details:

A swarm of Knicks, Clippers and Rockets players will soon descend on Las Vegas for two weeks of intense competition — only without coaches, contracts or the imprimatur of the N.B.A. The jerseys will be unfamiliar and the games fairly meaningless. But for the first time since June, N.B.A. players will be competing against N.B.A. players in something resembling an N.B.A.-caliber league. The site will be the Impact Basketball gymnasium, about two miles from the Strip. The unofficial commissioner will be Joe Abunassar, a longtime trainer of N.B.A. players. More than 40 players, locked out of N.B.A. facilities because of a labor standoff, have committed to play. Chauncey Billups, John Wall, Zach Randolph and Stephen Jackson will be among the headliners. ‘This is an effort on our part to get these guys as ready for training camp as they can get, without going to training camp,’ Abunassar said in a phone interview. ‘That’s the allure of it.’ The tournament has been named the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series. You could call it the Lockout League.

“As many as eight teams, featuring seven or eight players each, will play daily starting Sept. 12. The series will end with two days of playoffs, with a championship game Sept. 23. Games will be officiated and played under N.B.A. rules, albeit with 10-minute quarters and without coaches barking from the benches. The plan is to sell tickets (about 500 a day, with proceeds donated to charity) and to stream the games live on the Internet.

Billups will probably be joined by his Knicks teammates Shawne Williams and Iman Shumpert. Another roster will feature at least four Rockets: Kyle Lowry, Chuck Hayes, Chase Budinger and Courtney Lee. Mo Williams and DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers will form the core of a team, with hopes that their teammate Blake Griffin, last season’s rookie of the year, will join them. Others who have committed include J.J. Hickson of the Kings, Eric Maynor of the Thunder, Al Harrington of the Nuggets, Jermaine O’Neal of the Celtics and Jared Dudley of the Suns. Box scores will be kept. Standings will be posted.