Impact Basketball Rumors
Whether in shape or out of it, we do know that Joe Abunassar is going to hold a one-week boot camp at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, Nevada next week, and that should help some veterans get themselves back into playing shape.
The Impact financial model was different because the league was made up of players already training at Impact’s facility. Joe Abunassar, a trainer who ran the Impact league, said its players weren’t paid. Mr. Abunassar said he put $30,000 in expenses into the effort and “just about broke even.” He said, however, that he thinks he could have solicited additional sponsors—the initial run had two—and an Internet TV deal that could have paid the players a “good chunk of money for a weekend of games.” Mr. Abunassar said that if the lockout drags on, he could tack on another week of games with more promotion and revenue in mind.
Mr. Stoudemire, a star Knicks forward, said this month that he has had discussions with other players about starting another league if the lockout lasts beyond this year. “It’s a matter of us strategically coming together with a plan,” he said then. Mr. Tilliss said a new league would be “not even remotely feasible” because of the decades of infrastructure the NBA has built up, including arenas and TV deals. The first case study in NBA lockout leagues was the Las Vegas-based Impact Basketball League, which ran for two weeks in September and featured stars such as Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies and John Wall of the Washington Wizards.
Sebastian Telfair has received plenty of interest from teams overseas, but he’s not considering signing abroad at the moment. Telfair turned down several offers from European teams last week and he’s also passed on offers from Chinese teams. Rather than play overseas, he’ll continue to work out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas for the duration of the lockout. Telfair has been working out twice a day, seven days a week as he prepares for free agency.
Brian Mahoney: Seems from Twitter that every player is playing great in Vegas. You can tell writers are happy to see ball again. Or happy to be in Vegas.
Michael Lee: Las Vegas native Marcus Banks is really running the show @impactbball, dropping behind-the-back passes & getting to rim. Not used to this
Michael Lee: Rudy Gay is looking much better today @impactbball. He’s knocking down pullup jumpers, not as winded & had a vicious lefty dunk in the lane
Surprisingly unimpressive player: Sixers center Marreese Speights, who looked winded and a little lost on the floor on Tuesday.
Of course, Abunassar’s “Lockout League” is not without problems. Many games are blowouts, which results in the second half turning into little more than a glorified pickup game. There is little passing — if the nearby casinos listed the over/under for number of passes per possession, it would be 1 1/2 — and even less defense. Worse, no one can see it. The original plan was to broadcast the games on YouTube but escalating production costs — between $70,000 and $100,000, according to Abunassar — forced Abunassar to scrap it at the last minute. “Everyone wanted the content,” Abunassar said. “But we put this thing together so quickly, there just wasn’t enough time to find ways to pay for it.”
Chris Mannix: Kenyon Martin watches JaVale McGee launch a hook over him, says “Hell motherf—– no” when it misses. Then calls for sub.
Michael Lee: Jordan Crawford had a triple double with 20 pts, 13 rebs & 10 asst; Rashard Lewis had 21 pts & 16 rebs, but G team #wizards lost again.
Michael Lee: John Wall is destroying cats @impactbball. He had 47 pts on Tues., giving him a 3-game total of 130 (or 43.3 pts per game) #wizards
Jared Dudley: Breaking News!!! @Rudy Gay will play today at the the Impact training series!! His first game since his shoulder injury Feb 15
If everyone competed like Lowry, there would be no griping about the quality of play. Much like he did last season with the Rockets, the bulldog of a point guard took charge every time out and played with a controlled aggression on both ends that always seems to wear down opponents. His teams went 4-0 for the week, including a Wednesday faceoff with John Wall in which the Wizards’ point guard won the individual battle (42 points, nine rebounds, eight assists), but Lowry was his stellar self (25 points, 14 assists). He set the high scoring mark for the week Thursday, with 49 points on 13-of-18 shooting (5-of-9 from three-point range). Lowry has trained at Impact since his days at Villanova, and he was quick to use his seniority to his advantage during his game Tuesday. When Lowry noticed that the length of quarters had been changed from 10 minutes to eight, he insisted that the change be reversed. When Impact officials resisted and said other players had requested shorter games, he clearly didn’t care. “I’ve been here longer than anyone here,” Lowry barked. “Ten minutes.”
Anyone who saw Melvin Ely kick a full tub of Powerade all over the floor Wednesday, or saw Pacers guard Dahntay Jones and third-year Pistons small forward Austin Daye engage in an extended and entertaining trash-talking session on Thursday, might have thought the CTS was a step removed from the NBA playoffs in competitiveness. But Ely — a journeyman big man who was most recently with Denver and plans to play in China this season — was simply reacting to an eye poke that left him in serious pain (and wearing a bandage later). Jones and Daye were apparently tired of seeing each other’s faces every day. These outbursts, however, hardly symbolized the intensity level on display during the first week of CTS play.
Daye found himself arguing a call while waiting to rebound a free throw attempt. Jones, who was in the backcourt, piped up to let Daye know that he was “soft” and that he should end his argument. Daye, an exceptionally skinny man for an NBA player, took real exception to Jones’ label, raising his arms up to gesture towards the media section located behind the basket. “You’ve got the worst game in here, ask any of them,” Daye told Jones twice. Jones responded by mocking Daye’s arm motions and sarcastically mimicking his aggravated tone. Play eventually resumed. ‘When you work out with guys for three or four months,” Dudley explained, “they get under your skin. You’re tired, you want to go home.”
On Thursday, Denver Nuggets forward Al Harrington made his debut with a bang, earning two technical fouls in one game for disputing calls. The first time, he merely shouted at one of the referees; the second time, he chucked a ball so far off the court it hit a brick wall some 20 or 30 feet behind one of the baskets. Harrington was not ejected after receiving his second technical, although free throws were awarded on both violations.
Melvin Ely, who is reportedly heading to China, crumpled to the ground after taking a blow to his face. In some fairly serious pain, Ely was escorted to a training area away from the court, where he was attended to by medical personnel. On his way there, though, he took a quick detour to upend a large gatorade bucket in frustration, crashing the contents behind one of the team’s benches. Players chuckled and media members raised their eyebrows.
Marreese Speights has averaged 28 points and 9 rebounds in three games, shooting around 70 percent from the field (the stats are unofficial for the record; check out the scorecards that are used via Ben from Blazer’s Edge). His jumper is as wet as I’ve ever seen it, and he’s been handing out posterizations like they’re free candy. Below is a video of him dunking on the lengthy JaVale McGee twice in the same game. I caught up with Speights for a minute and he told me he’s been focusing on his conditioning and his body this summer. He also said he keeps in touch with some of his teammates and plays with Louis Williams.
J. Michael Falgoust: Shumpert goes baseline, uses his body to shed DeRozan and hits another j. Damon Jones just walks over to Shumpert during a timeout and says to him, “You’re f—-n him up.”