Pacers to Play in Vegas "Lockout" League?

NBA Summer League has been cancelled. But the always-on-point Sam Amick is saying that a bunch of players may head to the desert anyway. And it might not just be the rookies and also-rans that usually head to Nevada for some exhibition runs. (via @CardboardGerald)

He’s talking about full teams, including the likes of Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant, showing up to play som ball.

While the NBA’s official summer league was canceled in July as a result of the lockout, more than 50 players will be descending on Sin City to take part in a league at Impact Academy, starting on Sept. 12. And while the labor gap between owners and players means an actual season is likely still many months away, the Vegas session that was first reported by Hoopsworld will have the feel of an unofficial training camp for a number of teams.

Call it Phase II of lockout life for the players. While ventures such as these won’t provide much-needed leverage in the nearly nonexistent negotiations with the league’s owners, they will certainly help when it comes to staying in shape during the prolonged work stoppage.

According to Impact owner and renowned trainer Joe Abunassar, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Mo Williams and Randy Foye came by last week and expressed a desire to enter the league with a team made up solely of their teammates. Oklahoma City center Nazr Mohammed is trying to convince Kevin Durant, James Harden and others to do the same, while Indiana’s Dahntay Jones and Denver’s Al Harrington are making similar pitches to their respective teams.

The Impact Academy’s owner is none other than power hoops stakeholder Joe Abunassar. He has already talked to the top player’s union officials and it sounds as if there has been nothing but support.

Abunassar has spoken with National Basketball Players Association president/Lakers guard Derek Fisher and vice president/Spurs guard Roger Mason about the league and been given their support. “It’s a natural deal,” Abunassar said. “Guys want to play, so this is a great service for guys. It keeps them in shape. They don’t mind coming to Vegas. The difference between what we’re doing and what other leagues are doing is that all five guys on the floor will be pros.

“It’ll keep them in shape. It’s a good thing for the NBPA.”

A few weeks ago, Danny Granger told the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells that he, along with Jeff Foster, were likely going to try to get the Pacers players together around September to start some informal practice sessions. So, presumably, he would be into this idea.

Hopefully, of course, there will be a season and none of this will be necessary.

But I wouldn’t count on it. Especially before September 12. Knowing that, yeah, this seems like a great idea for the team to do a little off season gelling, both on and off the court.

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Tags: Blake Griffin Dahntay Jones Danny Granger Jeff Foster Joe Abunassar Kevin Durant Las Vegas Sam Amick

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