- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Maurice “Mo” Evans spent the morning in his dentist’s office. But a little swelling wasn’t about to keep him off the court. After seeing the dentist, Evans headed for the gym to work out and play basketball with some friends.

Evans, the Wizards’ swingman and vice president of the NBA Players Association, just finished participating in labor talks in New York last week. Since a new collective bargaining agreement was not reached, and the long-anticipated lockout is underway, Evans is home in Houston and keeping busy until talks resume.

“Right now, it’s just business as usual,” Evans said.

“I’m a veteran, so I’m not involved in the Summer League; so I’m just doing what I would be doing anyway right now, playing in the Pro-Am League and staying in shape.”

Evans plays in a Houston Pro-Am League with other NBA veterans, including former Wizard Cartier Martin, T.J. Ford of the Indiana Pacers, Antonio McDyess of the San Antonio Spurs, and D.J. Augustin of the Charlotte Bobcats. In addition to the regulars, a few new faces, mostly rookies and second-year players, are expected as well, since the NBA has canceled the Summer League.

“There are other Pro-Am leagues like this in L.A., and Philly and a couple of other cities, so there are places where guys can play. This is the offseason, so we’re all just playing, working out and staying in shape just like we would in a normal offseason,” Evans said.

“A lot of people are working with personal trainers and doing skill work. This is still the time when we work on our skills, get in a lot of practice and see what happens.”

Evans is keeping in touch with players union executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher, but neither side seems pressured to continue talks just yet.

The owners and players are still far apart on several key issues, including the percentage of basketball-related income each side should receive, and a hard vs. a soft salary cap. But when the talks resume, Evans will be there.

In the meantime, he’s also keeping in touch with several of his teammates, including Rashard Lewis, who also is in Houston, John Wall, Jordan Crawford and Nick Young.

“I have talked to John, Jordan and Nick,” Evans said. “They’re all working out in Los Angeles right now.”

Before departing for L.A., Wall made an appearance in a Goodman League game over the Independence Day weekend, scoring 41 points in a game with the “Baltimore’s Finest” team.

The Goodman League, located at Barry Farms in Southeast D.C., is another summer league that attracts a number of NBA players, including D.C. native Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and former Wizard Gilbert Arenas, now of the Orlando Magic. Both are expected to play at Barry Farms this summer as well.

“We’re all doing what we need to do to get ready for the season like any other year, because we don’t have any timetable when we need to get a deal done to make sure we have a season,” Evans said.

“There will be a reason to be concerned if it comes to a point where we might miss some games. Owners want their teams to compete. Fans want to see us compete. If we have to miss games, it will be a disappointment to everyone.”

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