Mailbag: International Play Stipulations

mailbagThe NBA pays these players a substantial amount of money to play at their healthiest and highest level of performance. Now it is on their own will to play in the summer for their country. I am including ALL NBA players, international or U.S. I am not against supporting your country, but should they start to add stipulations to their contracts if these players go off in the summer and get hurt? These franchises put out millions of dollars on these players and if they get hurt, why should they get paid for that season if they don’ play? I know it is a sticky question, and my family and I have had many conversations over this, but I just wanted to get your opinion. – Becca

I’ve actually thought about this for quite some time. When Manu was injured and sat out a considerable amount of games a few years back, then decided to play internationally the next summer, a lot of people in and around San Antonio had a big problem with it.

For international players, the ultimate goal has always been winning Olympic gold for your country. Even now with many international players playing in the league, I’d guess plenty would say they’d pick an Olympic Gold Medal over an NBA Championship.

With Manu, I felt empathetic because you have to realize that he has a great amount of pride in his home country of Argentina, but at some point NBA Teams have to think of their own interests and how international play could affect their success.

Yao Ming is likely one of the better centers in the NBA, when he’s playing. How right is it that he’s available to play for the Chinese National Team while he’s sat out most of the last two seasons with the Rockets while earning nearly $17 million per season.

So I really do think it’s time the NBA and owners have stipulations for their players who choose to play internationally. Would Yao Ming be playing summers if that cushy $17 million were pro-rated. Whether or not the Player’s Association would ever even consider it is another issue.

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About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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