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Israeli National Team Unhappy with Mavericks, Mekel

The business reality of basketball collides with national interests


Earlier this evening, Eric Freeman of Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie reported on a Mav related story concerning one of the members of the crowded Dallas backcourt, Gal Mekel.

Mekel has decided to attend training camp in September and miss the European championships and his coach, Arik Shivek, is not pleased with the Dallas Mavericks. More from the Jerusalem Post:

"Mekel told me that he was put in a room with General Manager Donnie Nelson and all the coaches and they told him that as a rookie he would have a better chance of playing more minutes at the start of the season if he takes part in the preliminary training camp as well as the final camp," Shivek said.

I recommend going to read the whole thing. On the one hand, the coach's frustration is totally understandable. You want your best players available for an important tournament. Pair that with a country that takes nationalism seriously, and Mekel's been put in a tough spot.

But I've always seen Cuban's point of view: when a team invests time and money into a player, letting that player operate outside of your team's control is risky business. I can't recall any injury that has happened to a marquis player, but once it happens, there will be a major backlash. The Mavericks may have put Mekel in an unfortunate situation, but that's the business side of playing in the best league on the planet.

With Shane Larkin hurt, Mekel has a real chance to earn minutes in the backcourt rotation. If you watched Summer League at all, you saw that Mekel understands basketball, which was a trait sorely lacking in last year's point guards.