At least there’s some good news overseas
A couple of big news bits came down the pipeline Friday morning, one of which definitely affects the Spurs, the second of which could possibly impact San Antonio.
The first item of interest to Spurs fans is that the Argentine basketball federation secured insurance for its national team players with NBA contracts. While it was expected that thisÂ would happen, it’s nice to have it resolved. The San Antonio Express-News‘ Mike Monroe has some specifics:
The way has been cleared for Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and his fellow NBA teammates on the Argentine senior men’s national team to play in the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament that is scheduled for their homeland in late August and early September.
According to a report on the FIBA Americas website, Argentine Basketball Federation president German Vaccaro confirmed that the federation successfully had secured insurance to indemnify the players against loss of the remainder of their NBA contracts because of long-term injury.
Some details of the insurance deal won’t be finalized until next week, so it is uncertain when the NBA players will be allowed to begin training with the national team, which opened its training Friday in Buenos Aires.
Other than Cory Joseph of Canada, Manu Ginobili was the last of the Spurs’ internationals to obtain insurance to cover national team duty. That is no longer a problem.
With the odds pretty likely that the NBA season won’t start before January, I’m all for Spurs players participating inÂ international competition. Unlike last year, when the season started on time, Spurs fans were letting out sighs of relief when Ginobili and Tony Parker decided against international duty in the summer.
This year, though, Spurs players participating in Eurobasket and the Americas Championship is great because not only do they stay in some semblance of shape, but they’ve got time to rest and recover from any injury sustained in August-September. Not saying I’m hoping for injury, but I’d be much more comfortable with someone coming up lame this summer than last.
The other bit of news that emerged Friday morning was that FIBA cleared the way for NBA players to make the move to Europe or Asia or Antarctica if (when) the lockout costs some games (via Howard Beck of the New York Times).
FIBA won’t block any move abroad, but NBA players still have to return to the States and honor their contract upon resolution of the lockout. This news, however, doesn’t cover the risk of injury for players, which could provide some bit of desperation or worry for NBA team owners during the lockout and may be the only bit of leverage the players have right now.
FIBA has confirmed it will approve the transfer of players under contract with the NBA deciding to play for clubs of FIBA affiliated leagues during the on-going lockout.
During a lockout NBA players who continue to be under contract with an NBA team are free to play anywhere they want, whether for their national teams and/or for club teams.
If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over.
Any NBA player deciding to play during the lockout, does so at his own risk, notably if he sustains an injury.
So far, almost none of the Spurs have seriously flirted with going overseas during the lockout, except for Tony Parker. With the vast foreign ties these Spurs have, it’s not unlikely that many of them will look for other options if the season falls in serious jeopardy.
If that’s the case and guys like Manu, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal decide “Screw it, I’m going overseas,” while the lockout rages on, I’ll be a little less comfortable than I am right now.