To borrow a line from NFL Red Zone Channel man Andrew Siciliano:
Practicar? Hablamos de practicar?
After playing a couple years in Turkey but not being able to get a look from an NBA team, Allen Iverson is in negotiations to play in the Puerto Rican league, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Iverson’s business manger Gary Moore has talked with Puerto Rico officials, and the league’s teams are discussing a bidding process to woo Iverson.
The Puerto Rican league, which starts its 30-game season in March, pays its stars about $20,000 a month, plus living expenses, sources said. The league’s commissioner is selling Iverson on the chance to work his way back to a possible return to the NBA.
While there is a rich tradition of basketball in Peurto Rico (their international team will take part in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament this summer and have a solid shot at getting one of the three remaining spots in the London games), the national league itself does not see a lot of guys jump from there to the NBA. They have former NBA guys — Ike Diagu is signed for this year — but while the level of play is pretty good its steps below the NBA.
That said, Iverson would be a huge draw in the island nation.
Iverson and his representative reached out to a number of NBA teams before the season but there was no interest. In 2010 Iverson played parts of the season for the Grizzlies and 76ers, but in both cases was not terribly productive on the court and a distraction off it. Which has scared teams off. He played last season in Turkey.
So much for that “see how much money we can make without the NBA” tour.
After seemingly half the stars in the World All-Star Classic constellation pulled out in the past week, the first game — scheduled for Sunday in Puerto Rico — and the entire series now has been sucked into a black hole. Sadly just hours after the NBA labor talks blew up — apparently the basketball gods don’t want us to watch games.
Ric Bucher at ESPN has the report:
The six-game, four-continent World All-Star Classic exhibition tour featuring two squads of All-Star NBA players is on hold, with Sunday’s scheduled game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, postponed indefinitely, sources said.
The other five games on the tour, scheduled for London, Macau and Australia, already had been pushed back until late November, sources said. There was hope the game in San Juan could be salvaged and serve as proof to the other venues and investors that Atlanta businessman Cal Darden and his son, Cal, Jr., were capable of pulling off the event.
First it was Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook who pulled out before even the official announcement went out. That was followed by LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony backing out, then just in the last 24 hours it was Dwight Howard’s turn to get out. Kevin Durant was rumored to be on the fence — and he’s played anywhere and everywhere this summer. With the players being promised six figures and up to $1 million to do the tour (and giving them a platform to promote their brand internationally), for them to bail means something smelled fishy to them and their agents.
Some big names were still attached — Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Garnett — but that was not going to be enough.
Part of the players backing out seemed to be tied to optimism around the finalizing of an NBA labor deal. Now that has blown up again, at least for a little while, and it remains to be seen if that can breathe a little more life into it.
Probably not. It was a grandiose plan, but it has fallen like a Jenga tower. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men….
And the players keep dropping out the World All-Star Classic set to start in Puerto Rico Sunday (Oct. 30) like it was some hastily thrown together event that was never going to live up to the hype.
The latest is Dwight Howard, the Orlando Sentinel reports. They spoke to his agent who confirms the news.
If you want to take this as a sign the lockout is nearing an end, go ahead. I think it may be as much a sign of the tour itself.
Early on Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook were on the list, but they were off when the tour made its official announcement of the Puerto Rico game. After that LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony pulled out after having been announced as participating.
Officially Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Durant are in among others (although the rumor is he is 50/50).
And if you live in London, Macau or Melbourne — the next stops the tour was supposed to make in the coming weeks — I wouldn’t be cancelling a date to clear the calendar.
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.
Coming in to the FIBA Americas tournament, anything less than making the championship game — and with that earning a berth in next summer’s Olympics — would have been a let down for Argentina. They were the best team in the tournament on paper with a lineup that included Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andreas Nocioni.
Brazil had a harder road. Their best players — Nene, Anderson Varejao and Leandro Barbosa — all declined to play. It was Tiago Splitter and a bunch of guys you don’t know.
It didn’t really work out exactly that way, Brazil was the best team in the tournament and Argentina looked vulnerable. But in the end those are the two teams that earned the automatic berths by making the finals of FIBA Americas with wins on Saturday.
Brazil did it by being the top seed and beating the Dominican Republic 83-76 in the semi finals. Argentina had a harder road, relying on a couple of late free throws (and some Puerto Rico missed shots) to get an 81-79 win.
The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — along with fifth place finisher Venezuela — will compete in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament next summer.
The Dominican Republic — coached by Kentucky coach John Calipari — was the only team to beat Brazil in the group stage. They got a solid 18 points out of Atlanta’s Al Horford, but Brazil was too balanced with great guard play from Marcelinho Huertas and Marcelo Machado.
Argentina and Puerto Rico were tied at 79-79 but while Argentina was able to get to the free throw line (Ginobili had the winning point from the stripe) Puerto Rico had two missed shots from Carlos Arroyo and one by J.J. Barea in the clutch and fell short.
Teams now qualified for the London Olympics are the United States, Tunisia, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and host Great Britain. Two European teams will join that list next week.