The entire NBA community watched in horror as Paul George suffered a sickening injury during the Team USA intra-squad game on Friday. The NBA general managers and owners have taken notice too and the recent spill could pave the way for these NBA teams to disallow their players from participating in future international basketball competitions.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted a telling post about how the owners and GMs felt after seeing George break his lower leg and crumble to the floor:
Owners and GMs united tonight: Paul George injury could be tipping point for use of stars in international play. "Game-changer," GM told me.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 2, 2014
In a follow-up article, Wojnarowski had more forceful quotes from his GM-sources.
“The Olympics every four years is one thing, but the rest of this inconsequential [expletive] is ridiculous. We're not paying our guys 50 percent of the BRI so our stars can be exposed to injuries just to let the league [convince itself] that they're going to expand into European markets," according to the unnamed NBA GM.
One NBA personality who is not hiding from anonymity when talking about international basketball and against international sports officials is Mark Cuban.
"The (International Olympic Committee) is playing the NBA. The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption, to the point where a member was accused of trying to fix an Olympic event in Salt Lake,” was the accusation thrown by the outspoken and controversial owner of the Dallas Mavericks via ESPN.COM.
“The IOC (pulls in) billions of dollars. They make a killing and make Tony Soprano look like a saint. The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets.”
The Mavericks owner obviously wants to protect his investments or at least, earn the maximum from these players and not share the profit with non-NBA organizations like the IOC or FIBA. Cuban went on to suggest that they create their own international basketball competition.
"The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money. The players and owners should get together and create our own World Cup of Basketball."
Even before the George injury during the USA scrimmage game, owners and GMs have been hesitant in allowing their players to represent their national teams.
Historically, Cuban has been against his franchise player Dirk Nowitzki in suiting up for the German national team.
Recently, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs announced that he won’t be joining the Argentinean national team which is set to play in the FIBA World Cup in Spain scheduled from August 30 to September 8 because of injury woes.
George just recently signed an extension worth $92 million over five years with the Pacers, which were pegged as top contenders in the Eastern Conference before the injury to their franchise player. Indiana is now in danger of losing not only the title contenders tag but also their top investment.
A scrimmage for the national team changed an NBA franchise’s destiny in a flick of the finger (or in this case, a leg) and all the NBA owners and GMs are taking notes. On top of the list is disallowing their stars and players from playing in FIBA international basketball competitions.