In the wake of Friday’s injury to Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George during a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban criticized the International Olympic Committee.
George will likely miss the entire 2014-15 season after he suffered a compound fracture of his right tibia and fibula, which came less than three weeks after he signed a maximum-length five-year, $92 million contract with the Pacers.
For years, Cuban worried when Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki played for his native Germany in international competition.
While Nowitzki, now 36, has retired from such competition, Cuban was asked Sunday if he’s concerned that new Mavs small forward Chandler Parsons is vying for one of 12 spots on Team USA.
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“I try not to think about it,” Cuban said.
And because Parsons and George play the same position, Parsons might have a greater chance to earn a spot and could eventually be one of the players representing the United States during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The possibility could develop into some anxious moments for Cuban, especially because he signed Parsons to a three-year contract worth $46 million.
Meanwhile, Cuban wants the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA to stop allowing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to rake in all the money from Olympic events while the NBA and FIBA absorb all the risk.
“Why are we risking the health of our players to help corrupt IOC make money?” Cuban asked. “It’s not a pet peeve — it’s a logical concern.”
Cuban said he knows other owners who agree with him but are afraid to speak publicly on the matter.
NBA owners are powerless when it comes to their players participating in the world championships and the Olympics “because of our deal with FIBA,” Cuban said.
FIBA’s agreement with the NBA stipulates that only players can refuse an invitation to play on a national team, except in the case of a reasonable medical concern.
The San Antonio Spurs hopped on that loophole last week and blocked Manu Ginobili from playing for Argentina in the FIBA World Cup because he has a stress fracture.
Cuban said while the IOC is making billions off the NBA, the players and league earn nothing but national pride for their country.
Also, NBA teams are responsible for medical expenses incurred, such as the George injury.
Why are the NBA and FIBA involved in such a one-sided arrangement with the IOC?
“This question is up there with which came first, the chicken or the egg,” Cuban said.
Cuban would love to see NBA players and owners create their own World Cup of Basketball. That way they can reap the financial benefits instead of stuffing the coffers of the IOC, he said.
“We would all work together and create a tournament,” he said. “If FIBA is able to create one, I’m sure we can create a better one.”
Such a creation wouldn’t prevent a severe injury, but it could give owners some control and peace of mind when determining which of their players can play international basketball.