- National Teams
The NBA is not the only league the current lockout has implications for as it could leave Great Britain without stars Luol Deng and Ben Gordon at the European Championships in Lithuania this September.
The lockout officially began at 12.01am on Friday after the NBA and the players’ union failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Although NBA players are still free to play for their national teams, they will now have to take out insurance without NBA endorsement and with the help of their national federations to cover the risk of injury. National federations must also look for additional revenue to pay for these extra costs.
With Pops Mensah-Bonsu already out with a shoulder injury, losing Gordon and Deng could be catastrophic for GB. Speaking to Sporting Life, GB performance director Chris Spice is evidently concerned:
“Obviously, it’s a concern. We’re very keen for our NBA players to play this year for our team but of course we’ve been aware that this could potentially happen.
“We’ve been working hard with FIBA and our insurers to find a solution. We’re still exploring all of our options, but we’re hopeful we can find a way to make it work.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’ve been working hard on it for a while, particularly in the last couple of months, and we’re getting good support from other countries who are in the same position.”
Talking to MVP in more depth, Spice elaborated:
“We’re trying to secure insurance coverage. FIBA Europe has also looked into it on behalf of all the nations who have NBA players. We’ve look at their coverage as well as taking one out independently. The issue is that we have two players. The thing now is that we’re taking to insurers about what the conditions would be to bring the premiums down.”
“We’ve had to play around with how long it takes to kick in and the total sum insured. That keeps changing,”
“We’re probably half-way to where we need to be. It’s hard to be confident right now but these things tend to resolve themselves to the end. That’s how it’s always been in the past. So I’m hoping we can still do it.”
FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann has acknowledged the lockout is “very bad news” for basketball fans across the world and has expressed hopes that both parties come to a solution as rapidly as possible.
Securing insurance for Deng has been a recurring problem for GB, while Gordon is yet to represent the home nations.
Do you think we’ll end up seeing Deng and Gordon rep GB this summer? Drop a comment and let us know!