Duty, Honor, and Employer

On a Wednesday press conference full of feel-goodery (not that there's anything wrong with that) was the revelation that Nocioni won't be playing for the Argentinean national team this summer. A relief to Bulls fans due to the whole 'just out of a walking boot' situation Noc is currently in.

But Kirk Hinrich is still participating in the upcoming Team USA workouts, and other Bulls players like Luol Deng (Britain) and Thabo Sefolosha (Switzerland) will have similar activities this summer. In the future the Bulls could see Ben Gordon (Another British citizen, although he hasn't expressed as much interest as Deng) and Joakim Noah (France) suit up for their respective nations.

Pax gave an sobering response to their summer fun:

In a perfect world, all of us would like to see our guys not overextend themselves, but it's just a part of the NBA today.

It is, and it kindof sucks.

I don't think it'd be wise for the Bulls (especially after the headband fiasco) to unilaterally bar their players from competing internationally. But if I were an owner I'd certainly put on a nice suit and call a meeting to discuss an NBA-wide policy regarding this. Right now, the policy seems to be bending over backwards to support USA Basketball, an organization that only seems to bring negative publicity to the league when the team is beaten in a single-elimination tournament (which can, ya know, happen) and then gets ripped apart by people who otherwise wouldn't give a crap who wins.

There's the notion that supporting international competition sparks interest in the game worldwide, but this isn't 1992, and basketball fans around the world can see NBA games through the magic of technology. Does the intangible support of the game as a whole make up for the risk in devaluing the NBA product through injuries and bad publicity?

You can read this full rant from a long long while ago but as a synopsis my opinion is international competition isn't worth it. There's even more 'invested' in the issue for me now, since Bulls players are actually good enough to compete on their national teams. And as Mark Cuban has said before, it's too much of a risk to the teams who are actually paying them millions of dollars to let these guys play at all.

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