As stars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant prepare for a lucrative, six-game, four-continent NBA world tour during the NBA lockout set to begin on Oct. 29, time is running out on finalizing an agreement with Puerto Rico promoters for the opening game in San Juan, according to reports.
Tour organizer Calvin Darden Sr. of Atlanta, has until Monday to provide several requirements -- including 18 signed player agreements -- for a game this Saturday night at San Juan Arena.
The potential loss of the Puerto Rico game could have broader implications for the entire NBA world tour.
San Juan officials are desperate to start selling tickets. The world tour is slated to continue to London, Macau and Melbourne over the next two weeks, ending on Nov. 9. Players involved have agreements to pay them anywhere from a six-figure fee to more than $1 million for participation. Some of the money generated by the tour will be donated to charity.
Puerto Rican promoters are still waiting on signed agreements from 10 of the 18 players expected to play in the game, a $12,500 payment to begin the sale of tickets and evidence of a global television package, sources said.
The Puerto Rican Tourism company is paying a $750,000 host fee with the assistance of corporate sponsors, but one Puerto Rico source briefed on the details said the local government will not financially back the game without a broad television package.
Darden has been putting the world tour together with the agents of various NBA all-stars during the NBA lockout for nearly three months. The list of 18 players that he has approached includes reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, all of who have signed and are contractually committed to play. Other players such as Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler have been promised as participants to tour promoters.
One of the few superstars who is not expected to participate is Dwight Howard, who turned down a chance to play in order to rest from a taxing overseas trip he recently took that included visits to 15 countries.
The tour would be the biggest NBA lockout event players have ever staged. While locked out in 1998, several stars played an exhibition game in Atlantic City. Current players have staged several charity games over the past month, most notably the The South Florida All-Star Classic featuring James and Wade. The game was played in Miami last Saturday.