Around the NBA: Owners want FIBA protection

When the NBA’s Board of Governors meets with commissioner David Stern on Thursday in New York, one of the most pressing items on the agenda for several owners will be the future of NBA participation in FIBA basketball.

There’s been a growing concern with owners and league executives that too many unnecessary risks have been taken with NBA players when they’re playing for national teams. For one thing, FIBA has shown little willingness to make uniform medical standards for NBA players representing countries in international tournaments. There’s a segment of league officials who want the league to redo an open-ended agreement with FIBA and demand stricter guidelines and protections for its players.

Some league executives have been angered over their players being unable to get ice and tape – never mind legitimate NBA-level care – with some national teams. What’s more, several NBA teams believe national federation teams routinely send injured players back into games. This has been suggested in the past few years with several players, including Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

Stern has sold owners on the importance of NBA player participation for European and Far East teams as a way to market the game internationally and create new revenue streams. Yet, as more NBA players come from poorer countries it will be harder to maintain quality care for players when they’re away from NBA doctors and trainers.

Several NBA executives laughed over Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson’s insistence on Monday that he has no interest in selling his failing franchise. Sources say that there have already been overtures made to prospective buyers in recent months. As for the Bobcats roster, Larry Brown talked Michael Jordan out of trading forward Gerald Wallace over the summer, but that hasn’t stopped him from shopping him in the preseason, sources say. Charlotte was hoping to showcase Adam Morrison enough in the preseason to find a taker for him.

A league executive said that the Chicago Bulls have interest in New York Knicks forward Zach Randolph to solve their low-post scoring problems, but don’t have a package that would interest New York.

As badly as Portland doesn’t want a team to sign Darius Miles and cost them the $10 million in salary cap space next summer, it’s inevitable that it will happen after the Boston Celtics cut the 26-year-old forward. The release had little to do with Miles’ attitude and ability to still play in the league, and far more to do with Celtics GM Danny Ainge’s desire to get rookie Bill Walker meaningful minutes this season. What’s more, Boston has 15 guaranteed contracts.

Philadelphia 76ers assistant Jeff Ruland had to leave the team for a short hospital stay after a staph infection spread from his ear to his nose. “I felt like peeling my face off,” Ruland said. “The pain was unbelievable.” He’ll rejoin the Sixers on Monday, a team that’s given the former All-Star center and three-time NCAA tournament coach at Iona College the responsibility of developing young 76ers big men, Marreese Speights, Thaddeus Young and Sam Dalembert.

For basketball junkies in New York, there’s a terrific clinic on Saturday to raise money for NBA player agent Marc Cornstein’s Court of Dreams Foundation, which is working to refurbish basketball courts throughout New York City.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, the Nets’ Yi Jianlian, and ex-player and Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe will be running a clinic and Q and A for kids 5-to-18 years old at the Sports Club LA (East 61st Street) from 2 to 4 p.m. For more clinics costs and information, go to

“We established the Courts of Dreams Foundation as a way to give back to our community and hopefully improve the lives of children in our hometown,” said Natasha Cornstein, chairperson for the foundation. “The game of basketball is an amazing vehicle for children to get out and exercise and, while playing, explore the values of teamwork and leadership that are at the core of the sport.”