FIBA, NBA leaders meeting in New York
NEW YORK -- With the NBA lockout threatening to impact this summer's qualifying tournaments for the 2012 Olympics, commissioner David Stern is scheduled to meet Tuesday with the president and the secretary general of FIBA, the sport's international governing body.
FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann and president Ivan Mainini traveled from their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for the meeting at NBA headquarters in Manhattan.
An NBA spokesman said the meeting was planned to discuss the 2014 FIBA World Championship. A spokesman for FIBA would not disclose what other topics were to be discussed, but it's expected to include two important issues: the prohibitive cost of securing insurance for foreign NBA players who wish to play for their national teams this summer, and the legal ramifications of FIBA issuing letters of clearance to players such as Deron Williams who have signed contracts with overseas teams.
When the lockout took effect July 1, the NBA suspended a program it operated in accordance with FIBA that provided an infrastructure for national federations seeking to purchase insurance policies for the NBA contracts of their best players.
Foreign federations are now grappling with the fallout, attempting to hastily assemble a program that would provide a group rate to insure the dozens of NBA players who want to represent their countries at Olympic qualifying tournaments.
The head of the Spanish basketball federation said it could cost as much as $6.7 million to insure the contracts of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio. The French federation is also facing the prospect of paying exorbitant rates to insure its NBA players, including Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Ronny Turiaf, Mickael Pietrus, Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum.
For now, many NBA players are reporting to their national team training camps in the hope that a resolution will come before the qualification tournaments begin.
Danilo Gallinari of the Denver Nuggets has reported to the Italian national team. Argentina is scheduled to open camp July 29 with a squad that would include NBA players Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino, along with the recently unretired Fabricio Oberto, all of whom were members of the 2004 team that won the gold medal at the Athens Olympics.
The Eurobasket tournament, which starts Aug. 31 in Lithuania and runs through mid-September, will determine the first two European teams to qualify for the London Games.
Another two teams will come out of the FIBA Americas tournament in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11, and one team each will come out of the FIBA-Africa, FIBA-Oceania and FIBA-Asia tournaments.
The Australian federation already has announced that it will not have Andrew Bogut on the roster for the FIBA-Oceania tournament.
The final three teams for the London Games will be determined in a pre-Olympic qualification tournament -- loosely known as the "second-chance tournament" -- to be held at a yet-to-be-determined site July 2-8 in 2012.
"It's possible that because of (the lockout) basketball won't be the biggest team sport at the Olympics," former NBA player Bostjan Nachbar, who plays for Slovenia, told ESPN.com.
Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
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