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By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive Billy Hunter are still hard at work trying to save the NBA season—meeting with a federal mediator in the process—but it appears that many of the league’s top stars are getting ready to hit the road for a two-week world tour that will consist of six games spanning across four continents.
To date, 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 the names that are expected to participate in the tour, and Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett are also considering playing as well.
As a fan of the NBA, I don’t really have a problem with these guys wanting to go put on a show for people across the world and spread the NBA brand. This is a chance for people to see the very best basketball players the United States has to offer and, for many of them, it will be the only time they ever get to see NBA superstars play in front of their eyes.
I just have a problem with the timing of it. The NBA season has not been officially canceled just yet. Why schedule the tour to take place during the two-week period of the regular season that has already been dropped and not wait until we know whether or not there is an NBA season at all?
Is this a ploy by the players to pressure the owners in to reaching an agreement with the players? It very well could be, but as an NBA fan—and a Bulls fan in particular—I am none too thrilled with this idea.
I would be much more comfortable with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer playing in the exhibition tour if the regular season had already been officially canceled. Hell, if the season had already canceled for good, these guys could go play a 100-game world tour for five months for all I care. These guys would need to stay in “game-shape”, playing with and against the best competition in the world, so if this event were to get them ready for the 2012-2013 season, I would be all for it.
But it is not the 2012-2013 season and the Bulls have some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of this season first.
The reigning MVP needs to be as fresh and ready as he can possibly be to avenge the Bulls Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Miami Heat. Derrick was beaten and battered last season and he can expect more of the same this year. I would love nothing more than to see him look at the canceled first two weeks as a chance to really rest up and get healthy for another run to the franchise’s seventh championship.
The same can be said for Carlos Boozer. Boozer has been bashed and bashed by NBA fans for years for being injury-prone, and he missed the beginning of last season—his first in Chicago—with an injured hand. If Chicago is going to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals—and possibly win an NBA Championship—Boozer needs to work out in the gym at home and rest up on the couch when he is done.
Does anyone really think Rose and Boozer are going to be rested once they get back to the United States and have to hit the road for the grind of an NBA season, after traveling around the world? I know the games aren’t going to be “grueling” by any stretch, but there is still the risk of injury and I don’t want either Derrick Rose or Carlos Boozer to take that risk with so much uncertainty surrounding the NBA.
Traveling around the world to play in six exhibition games on four different continents is not going to help the Chicago Bulls win any championships, so just stay home fellas.
Let the other NBA stars make the trip.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.