With all the talk about NBA players being compensated for Olympic competition and owners worrying that their biggest investments are risking injury by playing for free, the 2012 games in London could be the last time NBA superstars partake, according to reports.
What’s more, the NBA reportedly is working on starting an entirely different tournament altogether for such players.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the NBA is looking to rebrand the world championships into a tournament called “The World Cup of Basketball.” The league has reportedly been in talks with FIBA in an attempt to create a financial partnership that would allow the NBA to share the revenue from a world basketball tournament, unlike the current system where the Olympics reap all the benefits of NBA player participation.
“The owners would be a lot more comfortable letting star players play internationally if they’re sharing in the revenue,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
While Mark Cuban has long been an advocate for NBA owners receiving compensation if their players compete in world tournaments, he is hoping the league will take it a step further than partnering with FIBA. Simply put, he feels the NBA can do their own thing and collect all the profits.
“The question is: Why would we partner with a current tournament rather than start our own?” Cuban said. “If done correctly, it can be NBA-owned and operated and have the potential to be just as large as the World Cup of soccer. That is a product, in my opinion, we want to own, not share.
“I do know that USA Basketball should have no say in the matter. It’s completely separate from the NBA. They are a different financial entity. They would just be another country that could play in our tournament. Just like FIFA does the World Cup, the NBA could do a global tournament.”
Regardless of what the league decides to do in terms of starting its own tournament or partnering with an organization like FIBA, it seems almost certain that the days of NBA superstars competing for Team USA will be history with the conclusion of the London Olympics.