The gruesome injury to Paul George in a Team USA scrimmage has NBA owners and executives complaining. Again.

The scuttlebutt is that executives are talking about how to take NBA stars out of international competition. Cue the violin.

No question, the George injury leaves the Indiana Pacers in a bad spot. But those are the breaks. It's hard to feel bad for NBA owners since they get every other break. They can suck it up.

The NBA's priority first and foremost is risk aversion. Teams' investments and earnings always are chief priority, often at the expense of the players. So it's hard to feel bad for the owners because on this one instance they're exposed.

In this photo provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau,  Indiana Pacers’ Paul George is carted off the court after breaking his right leg during the USA
In this photo provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, Indiana Pacers' Paul George is carted off the court after breaking his right leg during the USA Basketball Showcase intrasquad game in Las Vegas on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Glenn Pinkerton) ( Glenn Pinkerton )

They got an age limit installed to avoid the risk of picking the wrong high schooler high in the draft. They cut the maximum salary to negate the risk of paying big money to the wrong guy. They trimmed the number of years on NBA contracts to limit long-term commitments.

At every turn, the rules are designed to reduce teams' risks. Now they want to make it so their "investments" can't play internationally. Get outta here.

If a team wants to bar its star player from international competition, pay him to sit out.

Teams are already getting a discount on their stars. Stephen Curry shouldn't have to miss out on selling his Under Armour shoes globally because the Warriors don't want him to risk another ankle sprain.


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Dallas owner Mark Cuban suggests the NBA should break away from FIBA and create its own World Cup of Basketball. Why should FIBA profit off NBA teams and their players?

Of course, an NBA owner is willing to take the risk when a profit is involved.

"The greatest trick ever played," Cuban told ESPN, "was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money."

Isn't the same true for college basketball? Where is the push to sever ties with the NCAA?

  • Jim Harbaugh's contract extension stance -- agreeing to table talks until after the season -- is respectable. He doesn't just want a raise. He wants to be paid like the best because he believes he is the best. And his willingness to go out and earn it illustrates why he's good at what he does.

    The presumption is the 49ers want him to deliver a Super Bowl for him to be paid like the best. That's smart by the 49ers. Still, the idea of needing to win a ring to be considered elite is a bit exaggerated.

    A Super Bowl win is one barometer. But it certainly doesn't mean you are perennially an elite coach in the NFL.

    You'd have a hard time finding five coaches more valuable right now than Harbaugh even though he doesn't have a ring. Yet he's $2 million shy of being paid like it.

    Harbaugh is tied for the 13th highest coaching salary in the NFL, making less than Chip Kelly and Jason Garrett. Mike Shanahan has won a Super Bowl. No way he is a better coach today than Harbaugh. Who'd you rather have leading the 49ers: Harbaugh or Jeff Fisher ($7 million), who is a top-notch coach?

    Being under contract, Harbaugh doesn't have too much leverage. He probably could get a raise, moving him into the ballpark of the elite. But he's opting to go out and prove himself, take away all doubt and get paid like the best. That's gangsta.

  • Giants manager Bruce Bochy revealed that Matt Cain is scheduled for season-ending surgery. It's hardly surprising, but it's still a blow, tempering the vibe from Monday's come-from-behind win over the Mets in New York.

    Thus ends the hope of Cain coming back at just the right time and giving the Giants the quality starts they will assuredly need.

    Righting this ship, in several instances, requires underperforming horses to start performing again. Cain is out of that mix now as he will have surgery to remove bone chips. There was no guarantee he would be any good this season, but the hope was there.

    September is going to be intense as the Giants fight for their lives to stay connected to the Dodgers for the N.L. West crown or for a wild-card berth. Every boost will be needed.

  • Tiger Woods: Please go sit down somewhere and don't come back until you are no-doubt-about-it healthy. If that takes a year, two, fine. A healthy Tiger at 40 is better than this guy we keep seeing.

    Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.