This is a standard introduction wherein we discuss the NBA lockout and how its existence continues to threaten the upcoming NBA season. We opine about its length, decry its stupidity and mention how players need to find a way to stay in shape so that they aren’t big fatties when the season rolls around again. It’s the truth and this paragraph can be copy-and-pasted several times between now and whenever the next season starts.

Now that the boilerplate introduction is over, here is where we talk about the latest plan some players have put together to keep things competitive during the summer. This time, it’s in the Philippines, it’s a bunch of big names and it happens next week. From the Manila Inquirer:

Back-to-back NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant will join Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and four other high-caliber players in parading their wares in the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend at the Araneta Coliseum. [...]

Completing the star-studded roster are 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, second overall pick Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves, James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder and five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s about as good of a collection of players you’ll see on the same court this summer. Two MVPs, two scoring leaders, four Rookie of the Years, and four All-NBA first teamers is a pretty successful haul for a couple of exhibition games. No offense to that amazing streetball game that’s being put together, but this is the best collection of NBA talent we’ve heard about thus far.

And, lucky for the Pinoy, border security made for an even better game in Manila.

Durant will replace Los Angeles Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan, who was said to have passport issues.

DeAndre Jordan is very exciting, and would definitely be fun in a no-defense game, but Kevin Durant is a bit of an upgrade. Nice work, Filipino customs people.

This really does sound great. The Philippines are crazy, crazy, crazy about basketball, and them getting legitimate NBA superstars to play a couple of games against local teams is a huge deal. There’s no place on Earth that would appreciate such a thing more than they will. Sometimes the lockout isn’t all bad.