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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