Then, in early October, just a month before the ABL season was to get underway, the Celtics bolted to the newly organized National Basketball League. The new league operated solely in and around the metropolitan New York City, but despite its geographical limitations was stocked with some of the best players in the country. After pulling off a coup by signing the Original Celtics, the NBL brashly raided ABL rosters for additional players.
The Brooklyn Arcadians were particularly hard hit, losing stars Red Conaty and Rody Cooney, while Washington lost starters Teddy Kearns and Bob Grody. Washington owner George Preston Marshall completed the destruction of the Arcadians by luring Elmer Ripley and Tillie Voss away from the Brooklyn club to fill the gaps in his lineup left by the National League raids. The newcomers joined Rusty Saunders, Ray Kennedy and George Glasco to restore Marshall’s Palace Five club to its place among the ABL pre-season favorites. Cleveland returned with championship squad intact and further strengthened by the addition of Ohio State rookie Cookie Cunningham and valuable swingman Gil Ely. With Brooklyn out of the picture, Gottleib’s new Philadelphia entry became the third contender. The Quakers (later known as the Warriors) showcased a Who’s Who of former Eastern League stars including George Artus, Tom Barlow, Stretch Meehan, Soup Campbell, and Chickie Passon.