Thursday, August 20, 2009

Should Teams Stop Players From Representing Their Countries?

The Dallas Mavericks are one of many teams that have not allowed their players from playing for their respective countries this summer. Dirk Nowitzki wasn't allowed to represent Germany, while J.J. Barea wasn't allowed to play for Puerto Rico. This issue creeps up with teams all the time.

I'm going to tackle it from a team and players standpoint, then give my thoughts on it.

If I pay guys millions of dollars to play basketball, why risk fatigue or injury for something that doesn't affect what your team's doing? That's how owners think. They think more about what it does for their endeavor, rather than the players themselves.

I think of the case of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. A couple years back, he wanted to play for Lithuania. The Cavs declined because of his long injury history. While Z is now healthy for the most part, I'm sure the Cavs would still not allow it. That's just how these teams are with guys that get hurt.

But then you look at what the Spurs and Lakers have done. The Spurs had one of their top players, Manu Ginobili, playing in the Olympics for Argentina. While he could have been resting and preparing for next season, he aggravated an injury that caused him lots of trouble last year, eventually ending his season.

The Lakers let Pau Gasol play for Spain in the Olympics and this summer in Eurobasket. After a whole regular season and title winning playoff run (last season only), they let him play this summer and last. This summer he had a minor finger injury on his non-shooting hand. But, they'll likely let him play once he's better.

There is no in between from teams on this situation. You either let guys play for their country, or not.

Looking at it from a player standpoint, I can see where it would make sense not to play for my country. If you are injured or have been hurt a lot, like Ginobili and Ilgauskas, you might consider sitting out. But these guys have so much pride and competitive spirits that they want to play no matter what.

If put in Ginobili or Ilguaskas shoes, I would probably want to play. If my team said no, I would lose a little bit of love for the organization. But the people who pay the checks get the control in this regard. For the most part.

Personally, I feel that most players should be allowed to play for their countries. There are a few cases where I'd say no, but if a guy is healthy and willing and able, they should be given the green light. Why not give them some quality summer action? It keeps your guy in tip top shape for the season.

I want to know what you all think. Here's a poll on it:

Also, let's hear your thoughts in the comments!


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