Lockout could force Argentina to play without Ginobili, other NBA players

With Argentina playing host to the FIBA Americas Championship starting on August 30, several of Argentina’s gold medal team members, including San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, committed to playing this summer in what will be the last opportunity to play together in front of their home country.

However, putting that team of Argentine icons together to play in front of their home country and qualify for what will be their last hurrah in next summer’s Olympic games has hit a few snags, thanks to the NBA lockout.

Argentina’s NBA representation of Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni will have to be insured before they put themselves at risk of injury.

With NBA players on several international teams, many teams are scrambling to get their players insurance before they start training later this month.

Tiago Splitter is the only Spur that is currently insured and Tony Parker has already stated he will not play for France unless he is insured.

For Argentina, they now only have 15 days to resolve the issue before they begin training, but Argentina Basketball Federation president German Vaccaro remains optimistic that all players will be joining the team in Mar Del Plata.

“We have to find a solution for the players,” Vaccaro said.

“From an institutional standpoint, it would be irresponsible on our part to make the players play without an insurance policy and on the other hand, for them, the players, they need to be insured for their own security, in order to do their job.” 

For several of the national teams, it’s not as simple as covering it all, especially with the costs associated, but they also don’t want to put the burden on the players.

“What we have heard is that a player who has a three-year contract and is not one of the highest earners but an average one, if we had to insure him for the three years, we would be talking about 300,000 US dollars.

“What we have to do is find a solution so that the players are all insured and we don´t pass the responsibility onto them or enter into the ‘maybe insure them less, maybe more’ situations.

Multiply that $300,000 average figure by the four Argentine NBA players and you can easily see why it’s become an issue.

While I’m sure it’ll be resolved before Argentina commences training on July 29, I’m sure most Spurs fans would prefer to see Ginobili resting this summer. Images of Ginobili grimacing while grabbing his ankle in the Beijing games are still fresh in our memory and insurance will be the last thing to ease that worry.

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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