The National Basketball Association lockout has shaken things up in the generally expected biorhythms of the North American Summer. Ordinarily, we go through a month after the NBA Finals where everyone chills out for a while, before a few big signings and trades happen, followed by training camp and the build up to the regular season. Of course, you also mix in a bit of FIBA World Championships or Olympics action, depending on what year it is.
Instead this year has seen a series of high-powered meetings between NBA Players Association representatives and the NBA Owners — and even some court action (the legal kind, not the basketball variety). In addition, a whole series of knock-on effects have resulted from the NBA players not being under the control of their generally very protective owners.
Players have teed up all manner of international contracts for the coming season, particularly centered around the honey pot that is Europe. They have also been involved in various exhibition tours, including a Beatles-esque frenzied All-Star Game in Manila, the Philippines, featuring the likes of Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Derek Fisher and James Harden.
Today’s Herald Sun now reports that a similar tour may be coming to increasingly-basketball hungry Australia:
Some of the NBA’s biggest names could be headed to Australia under a plan to take advantage of the likely NBA season lockout.
NBA players – including Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol – are among an All-Star team that is willing to play a tour of Australia.
It’s understood the plan includes three All-Star matches at Rod Laver Arena later this year.
At least two sponsors have committed to back the tour and insurance issues – tipped to cost more than $1 million for the star-laden team.
With a huge resurgence in the popularity of basketball in Australia, subsequent to the rebirth of the National Basketball League and a review of Basketball Australia‘s structure, an NBA tour or exhibition match has been sought by BA chiefs for some time now. If the NBA lockout were to continue well into the normal start of the regular season, the likelihood of NBA stars downunder would have to rise.