The much-anticipated rematch between the Goodman League and the Drew League is off — for now — but that doesn’t mean that Miles Rawls hasn’t been busy planning alternative games against other pro-am leagues. The Goodman League is currently scheduled to travel for two games later this month – in Indianapolis and New York – and could possibility have another game against a team from Atlanta next month in the District -- should the NBA and the players’ union fail to come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement.
“We were ready. I was dying to get to L.A.,” said Rawls, who received a proclamation last week from Mayor Vincent Gray for his 15 years of service as Goodman League commissioner. “They called me. I was like, ‘We’re supposed to go to LA.’ But when they were spinning their wheels, I set the date” with Indiana.
Eric Gordon, Zach Randolph, George Hill, Gordon Haywood, Lance Stevenson and Mario Chalmers are expected to play for the Indy Pro Am. Jeff Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Jarrett Jack have also committed to play with the Goodman League in Indiana, though Wall could have problems if his team in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series has to play on Sept. 23 in Las Vegas.
Rawls still holding out for Michael Beasley. Although Beasley reportedly injured his wrist during a barnstorming tour of China last month, Rawls said it didn’t appear to be serious. “He talked to me the other day like he was fine. I think he just tweaked it or something,” Rawls said of Beasley. “He told me he’d let me know if he’d play or not. I haven’t heard back from him, but my main guns have committed.”
Rawls said he has also been contacted by Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith about possibly having a game against a team from Atlanta on Oct. 14. The game is tentatively booked for Coolidge High School, but hinges on the progress in the labor dispute. “If that lockout ends, they aren’t playing anywhere,” Rawls said.
After Durant and Wall led the Goodman League to a 135-134 victory over the Drew League at Trinity University on Aug. 20, players from both sides were eager for an encore in Los Angeles. Wall pushed for the trip to Los Angeles, where he has been training most of the summer. The Drew League even attempted to add Kobe Bryant for the rematch. Rawls and Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley cannot agree on why they were unable to schedule the rematch, which might offer an indication of why the two sides can’t come together on an agreement now.
“Tell Miles he’s putting a damper on this whole thing. Dino brought his team out there. They did what they were supposed to do. You got to return the favor,” Smiley said in a telephone interview. “Goodman really never made any effort to get back here for the second game. We just pretty much backed off it at this point.”
Rawls said Smiley left him no choice. When the Durant-led Goodman all-stars took on LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and the Melo all-stars on Aug. 30 in Baltimore, Rawls was still hoping to have the rematch against the Drew League on Sept. 25. Rawls had also been contacted by Carlos Knox with the Indy Pro-Am league.
“I called Dino and said it would probably be the weekend of the 24th. He said he probably couldn’t get the guys together. I said, ‘Okay. Indiana’s knocking on my door.’ I went with Indiana,” Rawls said. “Dino said the Goodman was the one that couldn’t get their players together, which wasn’t correct. How could I have guys going to Indiana and I cant get guys to go to LA the same weekend. He told me he didn’t think I can make the game happen, so I said, ‘Dino, keep on pushing.’ I need to keep moving forward.”
Smiley is still upset with the Goodman League rules, which do not allow players to foul out and created some confusion after Cousins committed his sixth foul and continued to play at Trinity. He also said he is looking at other options for the Drew League this summer, but has no intention of having his players travel again. “We figure we’re the No. 1 brand that everybody wants to see, no matter what happened out there a few weeks ago.”
But Smiley didn’t close the door completely on the Goodman League. “They would have to come to the table and be prepared to come out here by October 1 and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “October 1 is pretty much our drop dead date. We don’t want to go into October, the football season, everything. We may look at it later on.”
When told that Rawls wanted to go to Los Angeles, Smiley said, “If he’s ready to do it, book the flight. We’ll have the venue ready when he comes. That’s not a problem, because everybody is waiting.”
Rawls responded to Smiley in a text message that read, “Lol!!!”