Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sources: All-Star trio quits global tour
ESPN.com news services
Organizers say Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade are expected to headline an exhibition basketball game in Puerto Rico on Sunday.
According to a press release, the World All-Star Classic also will feature Amare Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Carlos Boozer, Chris Kaman, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler.
However, All-Stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, originally slated to help headline the tour, have decided not to take part, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
Durant is also wavering on playing in the entire tour, sources close to tour organizers told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.
The players were originally slated to travel across four continents with stops in London, Macau and Melbourne, Australia, but the defections have put those stops in jeapordy, a source told Bucher. The Puerto Rico game is a go in part due to brisk ticket sales, according to the source.
James, Anthony and Paul made their decisions together after consulting with one another over the past week. The players wanted to use the lockout to spend more time with their families, sources told Broussard.
The trio is somewhat hopeful that an NBA season can begin shortly, sources told Broussard.
Paul is a member of the players union's executive committee, and a source told Broussard that Paul wanted to be available for any labor meetings that may take place with the owners.
James, Anthony and Paul are the second group of players to withdraw from the global tour.
Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook both decided not to make the trips overseas.
Rose confirmed his decision to pull out of the tour before playing in a USO-backed exhibition on Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, the first such event featuring active NBA players.
"The scheduling was just too tough," said Rose, whose USO work will keep him in Hawaii until Friday morning.
Westbrook also opted to withdraw from the global exhibitions, sources close to tour production told Bucher on Tuesday.
In a related development, a source close to Steve Nash told Bucher the Phoenix Suns guard is not involved in the tour. Nash was reported to be a candidate for the tour on Tuesday.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to various charities on behalf of the players and the event.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.