USA Today’s Sam Amick reported a new league, filled largely with former NBA players, is expected to launch with 16 teams from all over the country next year. The league will not be affiliated with the NBA but will base a number of its teams in already-occupied markets.
CEO Carl George said that the goal isn’t to compete with the NBA — let’s be frank, that just ain’t happening — but to offer an alternative basketball during the offseason. Amick named Al Harrington, Rasheed Wallace and Maurice Ager among the former NBAers who have already committed to playing for the New York team. The league has roughly 60 players in place thus far and has a goal of each roster boasting at least two former All-Stars.
The plan is to make this Champions League more attractive than the D-League with a much higher average salary — a D-League max contract of $25,000 compared to an average $200,000 for the Champions League. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s much less bleak than playing in the D-League for minimal money or going overseas where your contract may not even be honored sometimes.
However, former point guard Keyon Dooling says that players like the camaraderie and community feel in the locker room. “It’s not about the money,” Dooling told Amick. “Most guys will tell you that they miss the community in the locker room, the camaraderie in the locker room, they miss their favorite restaurants that they used to travel to in all these different cities, that they miss the noise of the crowd. Those are some things that even a hundred million dollars can’t fill that void.”
As it stands, George says the league would play around 30 games beginning next summer, culminating in a single-elimination tournament to determine the winner. This could definitely be a great alternative to watching baseball and other boring sports over the summer when nothing else is in season. A single-elimination tournament would also give it a March Madness feel which fans will surely love.