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Will Revenue Sharing Save FIBA?

FIBA is trying to ensure the best basketball players (namely NBA players) participate in upcoming FIBA tournaments, but a proper incentive remains elusive.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The future of the FIBA Basketball World Cup is in doubt. This is because the United States may very well not be participating (in a serious fashion). While recent tournaments have seen the best American talents return the United States to its place as the superpower of international basketball, those tournaments were played during the summer (the NBA's offseason). Going forward, the revised FIBA schedule will schedule some FIBA games during the NBA season. It's unclear how exactly NBA teams and players will approach this scheduling conflict.

What is clear is that if the United States were not to participate in FIBA in a serious fashion, the entire tournament would be greatly undermined and become arguably hollow of any real meaning. Not only would FIBA lose the key stars (like the Clippers' own Chris Paul and Blake Griffin) that attract attention and define quality basketball, but these same players would still be playing basketball during the FIBA tournament... except in the NBA.

So what is FIBA to do? It appears that they are willing to share revenue if the NBA was willing to let their players play in the FIBA tournament. But with no system in place to schedule NBA games around FIBA games, this proposal would basically be NBA teams loaning their players to play aboard during the NBA season.

So why would any NBA owner be interested? The 2019 FIBA tournaments is in China. The potential market to be tapped there for the NBA remains juicy and appealing for owners like Mark Cuban. Yet it's questionable if money is really the solution for the NBA as a whole. Teams with serious playoff aspirations (sorry Mr. Cuban, you're not included) probably are not concerned with making some extra cash and getting some extra exposure in China during the NBA season. Thus future American participation with FIBA remains murky.