But the game that will have more passion and pride behind it is Sunday night on the other coast.
In Long Beach — the funky city pinned between Los Angeles and Orange County, where the NBA Summer League was hosted for years (and where your humber author lives) — the L.A. based Drew League will get its rematch against the Washington D.C. based Goodman League.
Scheduled to suit up for Goodman are Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, John Wall, Michael Beasley and DeMarcus Cousins. For Drew it’s James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Nick young, and Brandon Jennings. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This has been the summer of the pro-am games — NBA players have always stepped in for a few games here and there in these leagues. But this summer, locked out of their team facilities, NBA guys have showed up in larger numbers. It’s created a real grass-roots buzz. It’s been fun to watch, in part because offense dominates defense in these games that are more pickup than structure.
Both games this weekend should be entertaining. Of course, what should be happening Sunday is the first of the NBA’s official preseason games (that’s when they were scheduled). All the guys in this game should be in training camps instead. We should be gearing up for real NBA basketball.
We’re not. So we have Drew vs. Goodman rematch. Which promises to be a little ray of warm sunshine through the clouds of the lockout.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.