'Lockout league' rosters under scrutiny


'Lockout league' rosters under scrutiny

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn LAS VEGAS With a slew of logistical issues to hammer out in time for today's first game of the Impact Basketball Training Series, putting the actual rosters together was one of the bigger hurdles to overcome.

NBA players know their brethren better than anyone.

"Don't kid yourself if you didn't think we got some complaints about the roster," Joe Abunassar, the founder of Impact Basketball, told CSNNE.com.

Abunassar did solicit input from the players, but ultimately made the final decision on the rosters.

As expected, there were certain players in higher demand than others.

Most of the teams wanted to make sure they had solid point guard play, which is why former Celtics guard Chauncey Billups and Houston guard Kyle Lowry were among the players teams had the most interest in.

That interest played a factor in Abunassar's decision, but he said he was more concerned with having each team have a certain amount of balance.

"We have to have matchups. If we're really making this a training league, it's all about the matchups," Abunassar said.

Abunassar added, "Kawhi Leonard (a first-round pick out of San Diego State from June's NBA draft) will get a chance to guard a guy like Stephen Jackson, or a guy who has been in the league two or three years. For him, it's an upgraded summer league."

Former Celtics guard Damon Jones, among the first players at Impact Basketball League Monday morning, likes the competitive balance of the league.

"Every team has good players," he told CSNNE.com. "It'll be a good time, good basketball for all of us."

Abunassar must also deal with rosters that are constantly in a state of uncertainty.

For example, Phoenix Suns forward Hakim Warrick isn't expected to play tonight so Abunassar has to find another power forward to take his place on the roster.

Plus, there are other players who aren't expected to come in until next week, while others are re-vamping their schedules to come in this week which means Abunassar has to make sure to put them on a roster where their position is needed.

However, there were some players who made putting the teams together easy.

Mo Williams, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, has put together a team that consists of his Clipper teammates -- including rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin.

The Washington Wizards have a number of players competing here as well, such as Rashard Lewis, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford.

There's a reason why NBA commissioner David Stern doesn't double-dip as the league's schedule maker. But Abunassar isn't complaining; not at all.

"The team selection was not the easiest in the world," Abunassar admitted. "Believe me, after dealing with 75 guys for the last two days and coordinating, I'll need a vacation when we're all done."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

NEW YORK - Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

The NBA announced the suspension Saturday, saying Noah tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 – something that can be found in over-the-counter supplements.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the suspension.

Noah has not played since Feb. 4 and was likely to miss the Knicks’ final 10 games this season because of a knee injury. The NBA said Noah’s suspension will begin with the ”first NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.”

Noah is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract. He and the Knicks (27-45) have been a disappointment this season. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in 46 games this season, and has been limited to 75 games over the past two seasons.

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.