France is going to have one very good team at FIBA’s EuroBasket, where the 2012 London Olympic qualifying takes place.
And it’s all due to their ability to purchase insurance.
Due to the NBA lockout guys with NBA contracts no longer have insurance when they play international competitions. If countries don’t get the insurance, key guys don’t play. In the case of Spain (with about six guys) the cost was rumored to be more than $6 million due to having to insure existing NBA deals (and the Gasol brother are not cheap). The French insurance was not inexpensive but was a little less than that.
The French have a number of players in the NBA — Tony Parker, the point guard of the Spurs, plus Ronny Turiaf, Nicolas Batum and maybe Joakim Noah (depends on a medial report). Mickael Pietrus is out due to failing to pass the physical.
EuroBasket will have two guaranteed spots in the London Olympics (only England as host and the USA as World Championship winners have qualified) plus they will send multiple teams to the qualifying tournament in London just before the games.
NBA Commissioner David Stern and the head of FIBA met this week, and if you don’t think insurance came up you probably think the tooth fairy still pays to collect rotting teeth.