Kobe Bryant

First stop in Kobe, LeBron world tour already in jeopardy


It’s going to happen in some form because the biggest names have signed up — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and others are in for a six-game world exhibition tour. ESPN’s Ric Bucher reports that 14 players have inked deals.

But it’s not that simple to put together a tour, and already the first stop — in Puerto Rico this coming Saturday night — may be falling apart.

Basically, it’s because other businesses want rock solid business deals in place before they put their necks out there, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Tour organizer Cal Darden Sr., of Atlanta, has until Monday to provide several requirements – including 18 signed player agreements – for a game this Saturday night at San Juan Arena….

San Juan officials are desperate to start selling tickets, sources said. The global tour is slated to continue to London, Macau and Melbourne over the next two weeks. Players involved have agreements to pay them anywhere from a six-figure fee to more than $1 million for participation.

Puerto Rican promoters are still waiting on signed agreements from 10 of the 18 players expected to play in the game, a $12,500 payment to begin the sale of tickets and evidence of a global television package, sources said. The Puerto Rican Tourism company is paying a $750,000 host fee with the assistance of corporate sponsors, but one Puerto Rico source briefed on the details said the local government will not financially back the game without a broad television package.

Consider this a note to everyone out there saying “the players should just start their own league.” It’s not easy. At all. Lining up venues, television deals, contracts and the rest is complex. And that’s not even considering the marketing and all of the rest of the things the NBA platform brings to the players. The two sides have a partnership, if they would just realize it.


Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.