Biggest NBA lockout exhibition tour ever in the works? Pierce, Rondo expected to participate, according to report
Oh, yay. Another new basketball tour in some place I’ve never been, highlighted by stars who should be playing in the NBA rather than messing around in exhibitions, which I can’t even watch on TV.
I’m sick of the NBA lockout, and I’m sick of exhibition games popping up left and right. But Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are reportedly among more than a dozen stars expected to participate in the biggest NBA lockout exhibition tour ever, and they’ll reportedly get paid between six figures and $1 million for their efforts.
Kevin Garnett is also considering whether to join the tour. Insert your “he’ll just [expletive] the tour up” joke here _____. (ESPN)
In a trip that could resemble Team USA’s takeover of the world stage at the 2008 Beijing Games, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce and Kevin Love are among the players expected to participate. Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett, among a few others, are also contemplating joining the tour.
Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden has been putting the tour together with the players’ agents for nearly three months. He has already obtained signed contracts from Bryant, Wade, Bosh, Griffin, Rondo and Pierce. Sources say he’s hoping to complete the rest of the agreements, along with insurance requirements, over the next few days.
Even so, sources warned that the tour has not yet been finalized and there’s still a chance it could unravel.
The tour, scheduled to begin Oct. 30 and end Nov. 9, will make stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau, and Australia. Each game will be staged in an arena that holds at least 15,000 fans. Two games each will be played at sites in London and Australia. …
While Darden’s business record is impressive, his family has endured controversy. His son, Cal Darden Jr., recently spent nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud.
The 36-year-old Darden Jr., once a high-rolling stockbroker on Wall Street, was convicted of defrauding 11 victims of roughly $7 million. In addition to stealing money from securities firms, he was convicted of bilking $300,000 from former NBA star Latrell Sprewell and $950,000 from rap star Nelly.
Though Darden Jr. will have no more than a minor role in the tour, several sources said Darden Sr. has been very open with the involved parties about his son’s legal issues and that they do not foresee them causing a problem. Darden Jr.’s main role has been putting together the charitable component of the tour.
This is exactly what I want Rondo and Pierce doing. Risking their bodies to play six games in faraway countries, games organized by a media mogul whose son, also playing a role in the tour, is a convicted felon known for defrauding 11 victims of roughly $7 million. To be fair, even if he bilks $300,000 from any of the barnstorming stars, Calvin Darden, Jr. is probably not any worse to work for than Donald Sterling. Plus, who doesn’t want a convicted felon handling the charitable component of the biggest tour in NBA lockout history?
Seriously, this isn’t how this year is supposed to go. I’m supposed to be rooting for the Celtics to somehow beat the Heat, not praying for Rondo and Pierce to stay healthy while playing in Macau. For the love of Bill Sharman, NBA owners and players association, please come to an agreement.
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