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Friday, September 9, 2011
DoJo to Vegas & Rudy Fernandez update

By Jeff Caplan

The NBA lockout ruined a summer of supervised development for Dallas Mavericks guard Dominique Jones. With the Summer League canceled and Jones prohibited from training at the American Airlines Center with coaches, the 6-foot-4 second-year shooting guard out of South Florida will finally get a chance to put his game on the floor in a controlled and competitive environment.

Jones is one of 70 NBA players that will participate in the Impact Basketball League, a two-week competitive training series that some are calling the “Lockout League.” They'll train and play games  from Sept. 12-23 at Impact Basketball's facility in Las Vegas. Impact Basketball is run by Joe Abunassar, considered the the world's top basketball trainer and "Trainer to the pros."

Impact Basketball released the roster of players expected to attend. Jones is the only Mavs player, but he'll be joined by pretty solid NBA company, including veterans like Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Zach Randolph and Jermaine O'Neal, to a slew of young guys like John Wall, Texas ex's Jordan Hamilton (Denver Nuggets) and Avery Bradley (Boston Celtics), former Oklahoma State guard James Anderson (San Antonio Spurs) and Baylor center Ekpe Udoh (Golden State Warriors).

Jones is coming off a fractured foot during a rookie season in which he found minimal playing time and was never active during the playoffs. He's staring at a crowded shooting guard position with Jason Terry, Rudy Fernandez and Rodrigue Beaubois under contract, plus the possibility of free agent DeShawn Stevenson returning.

* The Mavs have three players currently involved Olympic qualifying tournaments. J.J. Barea has the Puerto Rico into the semifinals in the FIBA Americas tournament in Argentina. Dirk Nowitzki is trying to keep Germany alive in its quest for a 2012 Olympic bid and Rudy Fernandez is playing for a powerful Spain team.

* Fernandez, at this moment, appears to be the lone Mavs player to have agreed to a contract to play overseas if the lockout continues. That's according to reports out of Spain last month. Those reports also say Fernandez has signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid. While he would return to the Mavs when the lockout ends, according to those reports he would apparently resume his career in Spain after this season. However, a source with knowledge of Fernandez's thinking says nothing has been set in stone. It is certainly a possibility that Fernandez could play in Spain during a prolonged lockout and return to his home country permanently after this season. The source said Fernandez will likely meet with representatives early next week in Lithuania and that a definitive plan could be reached in a couple weeks. Fernandez played his first three NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and was acquired by the Mavs in June in a draft-night trade.

* Barea has said throughout the summer that he will play in Spain during a lockout, but it is not believed that he has a deal in place as of yet. His agent, Dan Fegan, has not returned repeated phone calls.

* Corey Brewer was in talks to play overseas, possibly in Spain, but his agent, Happy Walters, said earlier this week that deals have not worked out for various reasons. He said they are  exploring other options as they monitor progress made in labor negotiations.

* Nowitzki told ESPN.com's Marc Stein prior to the European Championship that he would make a decision about playing overseas after the tournament.