Last week we told you that Luol Deng announced he would play for Great Britain this summer, that the nation’s basketball body was able to find insurance.
They did — but not the level of insurance normally afforded players.
And while that was good enough for Deng it is not enough for Detroit’s Ben Gordon, who the London Telegraph reports will not play for Great Britain this summer in EuroBasket (the Olympics qualifying tournament that starts at the end of this month in Lithuania).
As GB Performance manager Chris Spice explained last night: “It’s been a long and complicated process and in the end we have not been able to afford the same level of cover he would get in a normal year with the NBA-FIBA deal so in the end we have put what we can afford in front of Lu and Ben and they have to make a decision.
“There is no guarantee that if somebody gets injured with us that the NBA club is obliged take them back and that’s the biggest stumbling block of all. Lu is in a very comfortable environment in Chicago as one of their mainstays and Ben isn’t. If I was a betting man I would say it is isn’t going to happen this year, its looking unlikely.”
On one hand it doesn’t matter — as he host nation, Great Britain has qualified for the 2012 Olympics (in London). But for a nation with a fledgling international basketball program, EuroBasket was the chance to show its legitimacy to the world before the games.
The British have another problem — they were drawn into the tournament’s “group of death” with Lithuania, Turkey, and Spain.