This summer in Europe, South America, Africa and all over the globe will be major international basketball tournaments — ones where berths in the 2012 London Olympics will be on the line.
And those nations may be without their NBA players.
All because of the upcoming NBA lockout, and what that could do to player insurance.
Spurs center and Brazilian Tiago Splitter explained the situation the Express-News.
Though he has committed to play for Brazil, Splitter won’t play unless his contract with the Spurs can be insured.
“I told (Brazilian team officials) that of course there is a problem,” Splitter said. “Most important is the insurance. If the NBA is in lockout, I don’t have insurance to play with them. They have to figure out how to deal (with) that. If not, I’m not playing.”
Under the current CBA, teams can’t prohibit players from competing in FIBA events. However, NBA teams must be indemnified against injury incurred in international competition. The cost of insuring contracts worth millions is significant.
“We start in July, our camp with national team,” Splitter said. “I will be (in Brazil), waiting (for) what they can find. There are a lot of international players with the same issue. I don’t know who is going to take care of (insurance): FIBA or companies or even the federation. So everybody is waiting.
“It is going to be expensive, and it is going to cost more for guys with big contracts, so it is really going to cost a lot for Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili) because they must insure the whole contract.”
Splitter speaks for a lot of players here. Playing in this tournament is a risk to their careers, they could get injured. NBA teams don’t love the tournaments anyway. The players want to play, but this is their livelihood and they are not going to do it without proper insurance and protections. (Tony Parker is the exception, saying he would play for France anyway.)
And if you think the NBA owners are going to help out with a solution for their players to go risk injury during a lockout, well, I’m not sure you know all the ingredients in those brownies you just ate.