Pistons’ Ben Gordon Won’t Play for Britain National Team Over Insurance

Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon won’t play for Britain in this year’s EuroBasket finals in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics because he couldn’t reach an agreement on insurance with the national team.

Their failure to achieve a deal followed complications linked to the current National Basketball Association lockout, British Basketball said in an e-mailed statement.

An insurance arrangement between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation, the sport’s world governing body known as FIBA, doesn’t cover lockout periods, said Chris Spice, performance director for British Basketball. Under that agreement, the national team had to pay 40 percent of insurance fees for NBA players, he said.

“We have done our best to provide a cover that is close to what we would have had in a normal season, but in the end things didn’t work out from a financial or scope-of-cover perspective,” Spice said today in the statement. The team is still hoping to make an arrangement with Gordon in time for next year’s Olympics, according to the statement.

Britain got insurance last week for the EuroBasket games with 26-year-old Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng.

“You don’t get much change from 100,000 pounds ($164,000),” Spice said yesterday of Deng’s arrangement, following a warm-up game in Cobham, outside London, where Britain beat the Netherlands 96-70. British Basketball didn’t have an estimate of what it would cost to insure Gordon.

EuroBasket finals start Aug. 31 in Lithuania, and include 24 teams. The event is held every two years, and this month’s is the 37th held by FIBA Europe. The top two nations are guaranteed Olympic spots. Britain qualified for the Olympics as host through a March FIBA vote.

Gordon, a 28-year-old London native, was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, denoting the best substitute player, as a rookie with the Bulls. He hasn’t played internationally for Britain.

NBA owners locked out players on July 1 after their labor contract expired, in a dispute over how to split money from a league that generated about $4.3 billion revenue last season.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Altaner in London at daltaner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at Ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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