The leg break that Paul George suffered with Team USA at their training camp is a crushing blow to the player and to Team USA. There is also a massive impact on the Indiana Pacers, with rumours now starting to build that the player will be out for all of the upcoming season. Some experts have predicted that George will not come back to the top flight pressures of basketball, but at the moment, you have to hope that he will be able to regain full fitness and confidence in his leg.
The immediate impact is on the player and Team USA while there will be a longer impact on the Pacers. However, the biggest and longest impact may fall on the NBA and FIBA. There have already been a number of drop-outs of NBA players but at the moment, the decision lies predominantly with the players. If a player has suffered a previous injury or there are concerns about their condition, the club can prevent players from playing but at all other times, the decision lies with the players. This means that this summer there will be plenty of NBA fans, coaches and club owners who have concerns about their players taking part in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
One NBA owner has already spoken out about the situation regarding letting players go to FIBA events and this may see calls for the NBA to take a greater level of control over international basketball. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has led calls for the NBA to run their own international basketball tournament that stands apart from the events run by FIBA.
Will the NBA break off on their own?
Cuban spent a great deal of time criticising the IOC and he was very quick to point out the hypocrisy and lies peddled by the committee and the Olympics. At least the NBA is up front about being a commercial entity with a focus on money. For many years, the Olympics have attempted to indicate that they focus on patriotism, sporting achievement and endeavour. It is ironic though that an NBA owner is calling the IOC out for this because for many people, the true nature of the Olympics was seriously compromised when basketball players from the NBA were allowed to play. This brought a massive level of interest to the Olympics, and has helped some NBA players to further their brand around the world, but as with respect to the true nature of the Olympics, there is not a lot to be said for the ideals of the NBA and the Olympics.
Given that it is the NBA clubs that are taking the financial risks, why should they sit back and let the IOC or FIBA take a great deal of financial benefit from the top players in the world getting involved with these events?
When you think that Paul George just signed a contract that could see him earn up to $92m over the next five years, it is easy to see that many NBA clubs will be feeling rather uneasy about this major event. The FIBA World Cup should be a celebration of top level basketball but there will be some people showing concerns this summer over what happens on the court and in the training sessions.