After watching Carmelo Anthony host some of the game’s biggest names for a glitzy summer-league game in his hometown, Phoenix Suns forward and Philadelphia native Hakim Warrick is trying to arrange a Philly-versus-Baltimore showdown against Anthony’s crew.
Warrick told ESPN.com that he and Anthony, former college teammates at Syracuse, spoke Wednesday and have tentatively arranged to stage an exhibition game in Philadelphia before the end of September.
“I was trying to do a Philly and Baltimore game awhile ago,” Warrick said. “Then when I saw Drew League vs. Goodman League and Team Melo vs. Goodman [on Tuesday night], I was like, ‘Man, let me go ahead and set this up.’
“I told [Anthony] that we want to play them next and they have to come up to Philly. And he said he’s with it.”
Warrick says he’ll try to recruit Philadelphia-reared stalwarts such as Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, Orlando’s Jameer Nelson and Detroit’s Richard Hamilton to play on the Philly squad. Other players Warrick expects to play include Houston’s Kyle Lowry, Sacramento’s John Salmons, Minnesota’s Wayne Ellington, Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson, veteran NBA guard Ronald Murray (who finished last season in Turkey) and recent draftees Markieff and Marcus Morris, who were selected in the first round in June by Phoenix and Houston, respectively.
Warrick, 29, said Sixers guard Lou Williams would also play for Team Philly and added that Anthony is assembling a roster of players from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., as opposed to asking Miami’s LeBron James and New Orleans’ Chris Paul to join him again like they did in Tuesday night’s showdown at Morgan State.
“He said he wouldn’t bring that same team,” Warrick said. “He said he’d probably bring Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson and other guys from the Baltimore/D.C. area. And for me, other than Lou Will, it’s pretty much all Philly. All people who played in Philly and grew up in Philly … Lou Will is the only one that’s from somewhere else. He’s kind of like an adopted son of Philly, so I let him on the team.”
Asked why he took the initiative, Warrick said: “With most of the older guys, like Rasheed Wallace and those guys [from Philadelphia] retiring, most of the guys are younger than me. I pretty much know everyone and I’m good friends with Melo and that just made it easier.”
The date and venue have not been finalized, but Warrick said the plan is to play at one of the local colleges.
“Either Temple, St. Joe’s or the Palestra,” Warrick said. “My first choice is the Palestra, because when you think of Philly, especially Big 5 Basketball and all the history, you think of the Palestra.
“We don’t want it to be too big like at the Wells Fargo [Center], but I don’t want it to be at some little, small high school gym. … Unless someone can talk Bean [Los Angeles Lakers star and former Philly high school phenom Kobe Bryant] into playing. Then we’ll need the Wells Fargo for sure.”
Such exhibitions are attracting more attention than usual with locked-out NBA players and owners engaged in a labor standoff that has lasted more than 60 days and threatens to delay the start of the season.
A small meeting Wednesday in New York that featured NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver on the league side and players’ association chief Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher representing the union was just the second formal sitdown between the sides since the lockout began July 1, amid growing concern that training camps and exhibitions will soon be canceled without significant progress on a deal by mid-September.
WRITTEN BY: Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report & FULL STORY HERE
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