Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
Posted: 2:54 p.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Follow @CSNBullsInsider
For all of the basketball being played these days, one would hardly know there's a lockout.
At this point during a normal offseason, most players are holed up in individual workouts in preparation for training camp, international players -- some of whom likely opted to participate for their national teams because of the work stoppage, not to mention Olympic qualification -- excluded. But even domestically, there have been a rash of pro-am exhibition games and as non-NBA American players begin to depart for their overseas jobs, NBA-only contests, as well as the anticipated Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas.
The majority of the high-profile events have been based on the East Coast, but the Midwest will finally get a taste of spotlight later this month. On Sept. 24, Indianapolis' Butler University will host an affair pitting the Indy Pro-Am against the Washington, D.C.-based Goodman League -- the same outfit that took on both the Los Angeles-based Drew League and a Baltimore-based "Melo League" squad featuring LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul -- last month, CSNChicago.com confirmed with Indy Pro-Am founder Carlos Knox.
Knox said he expects Indy Pro-Am participants such as Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, former Butler star and Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward, Jazz first-round draft pick Alec Burks, Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, Pacers guard and Indianapolis native George Hill and Wizards draft pick Shelvin Mack, another recent Butler product, to participate. On the Goodman end, reigning two-time NBA scoring champion and Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, a Washington native, and Wizards star John Wall are the reported headliners.
Being that Indianapolis is only an approximately three-hour drive away, it might be the closest Chicago will get to a high-profile exhibition -- even without labor negotiations as of yet resolved, look for several of these events to crop up this month, before the official opening of NBA training camps officially open in October -- this offseason, for the time being.
Knox, whose league was quietly one of the better pro-am summer events in the country and featured NBA players (and was free to the public), let it be known that he's open to Bulls players engaging in regional pride -- putting aside a conference rivalry with the Pacers, let alone the heated first-round matchup last spring -- to suit up for Indianapolis. Given Derrick Rose's adamant stance about not playing in pro-am or summer-league games -- although he did take part in a barnstorming trip to the Philippines earlier this summer -- he's a longshot to play. Besides the high-flying league MVP, in your opinion, which Bulls players would fare best in a free-flowing, laissez-faire, decidedly un-Thibsesque streetball setting?
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.