Bob Ryan: ‘Do Not Forsee Any Major Change’

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(Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In the wake of Paul George’s horrific leg injury during a Team USA scrimmage last Friday – George suffered a compound fracture while trying to block a shot and is expected to miss the entire 2014-15 NBA season – it’s only fair to speculate that many owners will not want their players participating in international competitions going forward.

Just how big of an issue will this be?

“I don’t know for sure because we have not heard from other owners other than the always-outspoken Mark Cuban – and he’s been on this kick for years,” Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said on The John Feinstein Show. “Although, let’s not forget that what Cuban is railing about is not the idea that the players play, per se; it’s that the NBA doesn’t get the money. So let’s not confuse the issue. He is not categorically saying that he thinks there’s no value whatsoever or no reason to allow players to play in these kind of games, but he wants the tournaments run by the NBA.”

Whether the NBA does or doesn’t run these tournaments, however, it’s hard to envision the United States ever bowing out. There’s simply too much growth potential at stake.

“This is a very important thing for the NBA,” Ryan said. “It’s part of NBA global branding. It’s part of trying to establish basketball more and more and more. We know it’s the No. 2 team sport in the world and they want to make sure it stays that way and tries to creep up to be No. 1. The benefits definitely are there.”

So is the potential for injury, as we found out last Friday.

The again, that is the case any time any players step onto a court.

“Paul George could have gotten hurt in a similar manner in an exhibition game in Muncie, Ind., against the Milwaukee Bucks in October,” Ryan said. “That much we know.”

We also know that the benefits of playing in the Olympics and other international competitions far outweigh the risks. And if you need to be reminded of that, just ask USA Basketball National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo.

“Colangelo (has) stressed that – that they come back as better players, that they spread the gospel. It’s a win-win,” Ryan said. “Yes, injury can happen and you feel truly bad not just for Paul George, but (also the Indiana Pacers). I thought that Larry Bird took the initial high road, and I think that probably was with a signal from his owners. But we’ll hear . . . from more owners. Adam Silver has (said) this will be a topic of (discussion) at an upcoming owners meeting, and that’s understandable. It’s all understandable.”

“But I do not foresee any major change,” Ryan continued. “I think there’ll be specific circumstances (where) players will have to make decisions. Maybe they’re in between contracts (and) they would have to reconsider their participation. Stuff like that. But I don’t think this is going to change the whole process. It’s in motion. We’re going to continue to play in these competitions, and that’s that.”

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