NBA will reopen debate in wake of Paul George injury
League commissioner Adam Silver reacts to remarks by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who opposes players taking part in global tournaments like the Olympics
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would reopen debate on the merits of participating in international events following Paul George's gruesome injury, but did not see a major shift in policy.
George, an Indiana Pacers All-Star, suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg on Friday in a USA team's intra-squad training session ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain to be held from August 30 and is expected to miss the NBA season.
"I don't anticipate a major shift in the NBA's participation in international competitions," Silver said in an e-mail to ESPN.
"It seems clear, however, that this will be a topic at our next NBA competition committee meeting in September and our board of governors meeting in October."
Silver spoke out after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban renewed calls for the NBA to run its own global events independent of FIBA, the international governing body, since the league assumes a big financial risk and does not directly profit from the players' participation.
The NBA chief said the sport and the league had benefited from participation of the game's greatest players in the Olympics and world championships.
"Without a doubt, basketball has grown tremendously since 1992, when NBA players began playing in the Olympics," Silver said, referring to the Barcelona Games when the US "Dream Team" made their debut.
"It's a bigger issue than star players," Cuban said. "We are being taken advantage of by the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and to a lesser extent Fiba [International Federal Basketball Association].
"We take on an inordinate amount of financial risk for little, if any, quantifiable gain. It's like our guiding principle is to lose money on every game and make it up in volume. There is no logic to our position. [We] just hope we get value in the future."
Asked if the NBA has any recourse, Cuban said: "It will be interesting. I've been beating my head against the wall for more than 10 years. But there has been considerable turnover in ownership of teams in the last few years.
"New owners have paid considerably more for their teams and have different expectations than the owners they replaced.
"I'm hoping they won't accept the value of participating in Fiba tournaments and the Olympics on faith. I hope they want quantifiable returns for the risk we all are taking. That could create change."
The big issue is that players not on long-term contracts are unlikely to play in the Olympics or World Cup, not wanting to risk future earnings.
McClatchy Tribune, Reuters