1. NICK THE QUICK: Rami, who also types words about ballsports at The Smoking Cuban, takes a look at Nick Van Exel's tenure with the Mavericks. Nick the Quick was awesome in Dallas. If Dirk doesn't get hurt in the Western Conference Finals against those dastardly Spurs, maybe the Mavs and Van Exel hoist Larry at the end of the season.
2. WHERE WILL THE MATRIX LAND?: Shawn Marion continues to float around in free agency limbo. Where he lands is anyone's guess right now. However, it appears that the Pacers have entered the running for Marion's talents and his gnarly pinky. They could stand to add a few healthy bodies after losing Paul George in the televised Team USA scrimmage.
3-5. TEAM VS. COUNTRY: Oh, and has that injury to George ignited an Internet firestorm or what? Did you know that Mark Cuban doesn't like NBA players participating in international competition? If you didn't, it's time for you to crawl out from under that rock. Let's get you up to speed with this article from the New York Times.
Cuban's main grief with FIBA and the IOC (International Olympics Committee) is that the NBA and the owners don't rake in the profits that these organizations do despite the participation of NBA players. Of course, FIBA and the IOC aren't the only ones benefiting from the international spotlight. It's also a stage for shoe companies and sponsors of every ilk to cash in on the players who they indorse. The international stage also brings a level of notoriety for the players who participate that they might not have solely playing in the NBA.
There's a lot of money being tossed around and, according to Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of USA Basketball, Cuban just wants a seat at the table. And really, who can blame him? Cuban is a businessman and has an investment in the players he has under contract and in the NBA. Why not get some returns on those investments?
Of course, not everyone sees it that way. See: Ziller, Tom. /facepalm
I'll just say this: Obviously, this debate is heated. That's no excuse to lightly suggest someone is treating their players like property. Players, under the current agreement with the NBA and FIBA, have the choice to play in international competition if they want to. They can grow their brand. The NBA has certainly grown its brand with the inclusion of its players international competition.
When it comes down to everything, it's all about the Benjamins, baby. Whenever FIBA and the NBA structure a new deal, it will probably look a lot different. Until then, we'll have more division and little agreement. So, basically, we'll have Congress. AMERICA!