stern_bw_568The place of NBA players in the Olympic Games appears to have been safeguarded after Commissioner David Stern revealed he has backed away from a prior proposal to end the concept.

However the league’s chief, speaking in Houston ahead of the last All Star Game of his tenure, confirmed that the International Olympic Committee and FIBA have been asked to shorten the length of the tournament from Rio 2016 onwards.

It comes amid concerns about the demands on the world’s best talents and criticism from owners including Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks that the wear and tear factor is becoming a problem.

FIBA has called the idea of reverting to second-tier players a non-starter. But Stern’s Plan B will now be considered.

“It seems to us that the current situation will be continued,” he said. “We have suggested to the IOC and FIBA that it would be a good idea to shorten the duration of the competition, because basketball is now the longest competition in the Olympics; basically from a day before the Olympics start to a day after, our team is really required to be there.  But we are not talking about any changes in composition.”

The idea of holding an All Star Game outside the United States appears unlikely with Stern telling MVP it will be a decision for his successor Adam Silver.

The Commissioner-in-waiting admits it is not a short-term option.

“We’ve discussed playing internationally, All‑Star Games, I’m not sure if it will work logistically, but it’s something we’ll continue to study,” he said. “We’ve looked at other neutral cities. We’ve looked at refreshing All Star Saturday Night and other innovative events for the weekend, and I think we’ll continue to do that, the same way we have under David’s leadership.”

With New Orleans staging next year’s All Star, New York seems certain to get the 2015 contest with both the Brooklyn Nets and the Knicks lodging bids.

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