Already 74 days into the NBA lockout, players are searching for normalcy in the most abnormal of times.
Some former LSU players found a break from the uncertainty Sunday as they gathered at Baton Rouge Community College's Bonne Sante Wellness Center for the Baton Rouge Pro-Am Classic tournament on Sunday.
Former LSU stars like Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Marcus Thornton and Anthony Randolph organized the charity event that also included budding NBA stars like Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons and O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Some of the players, including Davis, pledged whatever money they raised Sunday to BRCC.
The tournament offered a chance to mingle with neighborhood friends. Players also signed autographs and took pictures with fans. Most importantly, they supported a noble cause through their passion: competition on the basketball court.
But despite the joy of returning home to entertain longtime supporters, there's no escape from the price of business.
"It's a business, and we have no control over it," Thornton said of the NBA's labor dispute. "There's the business side and the playing side, and you have to go along with both of them."
The lockout has been especially difficult for free agents like Thornton and Davis. In a normal offseason, most free agents would already know their destination and find themselves on a roster preparing for training camp.
But the labor situation has left all team activities at a standstill, leaving players unable to entertain, much less negotiate, any offers.
"It's really tough right now because I can't talk to anybody," Thornton said, who averaged 21 points and 38 minutes per game in 27 games with the Sacramento Kings after he was traded by the New Orleans Hornets.
"Since I'm a free agent, who knows where I'll end up.
It's tough not knowing where things are going and where they're heading."
A popular destination for free agents this summer has been overseas. Many players, including the New Jersey Nets' All-Star point guard Deron Williams, have agreed to contracts with European and Chinese clubs in the event that a significant portion of the NBA season is lost.
Thornton, who returned to Baton Rouge and trained here this summer, said he has received and considered many international offers. His family has helped him identify what's best for his interests. But instead of rushing to sign an offer, he remains optimistic a deal will get done.
"The only thing you can do is hope we don't lose any regular season games and maybe just a few preseason games, but it can go either way," he said.
Davis also said progress is being made between the owners and players' union. With the opening of training camp on Oct. 3 in jeopardy, he said negotiations will become increasingly important because both sides must reach an agreement that accommodates both sides as well as the NBA's fans.
"Sometimes we get caught in the finances too much," Davis said. "You have to be smart, but at the same time you have to do what's right in your heart, not only for the players and owners but also the fans.
"The cause is greater than basketball. It's almost time for training camp and we haven't got it done, so people are going to have a sense of urgency."
Owners and leaders of the players' association met for five hours on Thursday. Negotiations are scheduled to resume Tuesday.